Not Just Any Mid-Cap Companies, but an “Enhanced” Selection

Exchange-traded funds offer a convenient way to invest in sectors or niches that interest you. If you'd like to add some medium-sized companies to your portfolio, the First Trust Mid Cap Core AlphaDEX (NYSE: FNX  ) could save you a lot of trouble. Instead of trying to figure out which companies will perform best, you can use this ETF to invest in lots of them simultaneously.

It's an enhanced index fund focusing on the 300 most promising components of the S&P Midcap 400 according to a proprietary system. The system seems to work, as the ETF has performed rather well, beating the S&P 500 over the past three and five years. As with most investments, of course, we can't expect outstanding performances in every quarter or year. Investors with conviction need to wait for their holdings to deliver.

ETFs often sport lower expense ratios than their mutual fund cousins. The First Trust ETF's expense ratio -- its annual fee -- is 0.70%, which is a bit higher than many ETFs, but also quite lower than the typical managed stock mutual fund. The fund is fairly small, too, so if you're thinking of buying, beware of possible large spreads between its bid and ask prices. Consider using a limit order if you want to buy in.

Why mid-cap companies?
Mid-caps can be wonderful additions to portfolios, because they've proven themselves to some degree, having grown to mid-cap size, but they also still have a lot of room to grow before they become large-caps.

More than a handful of mid-cap companies had strong performances over the past year. LKQ (Nasdaq: LKQ  ) , for example, surged 57% over the past year, primarily providing replacement parts and systems for vehicle repairs in North America and Central America. It has grown its revenue and earnings by an annual average of more than 25% over the past five years, but that's been largely via acquisitions, worrying some investors.

Polaris Industries (NYSE: PII  ) jumped 48%, selling snowmobile and all-terrain vehicles (ATVs). Its revenue and earnings have been growing at accelerating rates lately, and have averaged more than 20% annually over the past three years. Even its dividend, which recently yielded 1.8%, has been growing nicely, averaging more than 10% growth over the past five years. Polaris's return on assets tops those of its peers.

Other companies didn't do quite as well last year, but could see their fortunes change in the coming years. Bearings manufacturer Timken (NYSE: TKR  ) gained 9%, and sports an attractive valuation, with a current and forward P/E of about 7. Many like that the company is committed to manufacturing in America and not outsourcing its work, which offers both benefits and disadvantages. The company recently posted some disappointing quarterly results. Its shareholders have received an unsolicited mini-tender offer from TRC Capital to purchase up to about 2% of the company's outstanding shares, and Timken's management is recommending that they hang on to their shares. Its fans like its 2.3% dividend, strong return on equity, and solid growth prospects.

AECOM Technology (NYSE: ACM  ) , which offers architectural, engineering, and construction services, among other things, advanced 8%. Its revenue growth has been outstripping earnings, but free cash flow recently skyrocketed, easing investors' concerns about steep debt. The company is racking up business, with recent orders worth hundreds of millions of dollars, for government agencies and foreign nations. But a disappointing third-quarter report, along with reduced guidance, had some investors heading for the doors.

The big picture
A well-chosen ETF can grant you instant diversification across any industry or group of companies -- and make investing in and profiting from it that much easier.

Add some large-caps to your mix, along with mid-caps. You can check out some strong contenders in our special free report, 3 American Companies Set to Dominate the World. It won't be around forever, though, so click here to get your free copy now.


Read/Post Comments (0) | Recommend This Article (0)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

Be the first one to comment on this article.

DocumentId: 2125383, ~/Articles/ArticleHandler.aspx, 4/24/2014 5:26:24 PM

Report This Comment

Use this area to report a comment that you believe is in violation of the community guidelines. Our team will review the entry and take any appropriate action.

Sending report...

TREND TRACKER: Get Rich When the Web Goes Dark

It's time to say "goodbye" to your Internet! One bleeding-edge technology is about to put the World Wide Web to bed. And if you act right away, it could make you wildly rich. Experts are calling it the single largest business opportunity in the history of capitalism… The Economist is calling it "transformative"... but you'll probably just call it "how I made my millions." Big money is already on the move. Don't be too late to the party – find out the 1 stock to own when the Web goes dark.


Advertisement