This year has tested the resolve of investors like few before it. Although stock market corrections are more common than investors realize, a 34% decline in the S&P 500 in a span of less than five weeks was unlike anything the investment community had ever seen.
But there's good news amid the chaos. You see, every major correction has eventually been wiped away by a bull market rally. If investors buy into high-quality and innovative companies during these periods of heightened volatility and allow time to work its magic, they usually come out ahead.
What you might not realize is the same thesis holds true for exchange-traded funds (ETF). An ETF is a security investors can buy that holds multiple stocks or bonds. For investors wanting plenty of diversification, or who don't feel comfortable researching individual stocks, ETFs are a smart and effective way to put your money to work.
For opportunistic long-term investors looking to take advantage of the market's heightened volatility, here are three ETFs to consider buying right now.
Global X Cloud Computing ETF
The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic completely upended the traditional office environment and pushed consumers online in record numbers. Both of these trends were ongoing well before COVID-19 arrived, but the pandemic acted as a swift kick in the behind to accelerate these shifts. Even after the coronavirus chaos is put behind us (whenever that may be), we're not going to see a decline in cloud-based spending. Consumers prefer the ability to shop online, and employees enjoy the convenience of remote work. The cloud is here to stay, and investors would be wise to stake their claim in this high-growth space. That's why the Global X Cloud Computing ETF (CLOU 0.32%) is such an attractive buy.
The Global X Cloud Computing ETF allows its investors to take part in the high-growth cloud space without having a degree in computer science. This ETF is packed with three dozen companies specializing in software-as-a-service (SaaS), platform-as-a-service (PaaS), and infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS). This means they provide applications over the internet that are managed by a third party (SaaS), provide cloud components to software that are used for specific applications (PaaS), or are a self-serviced cloud application used to monitor computers, networks, or storage (IaaS). In even plainer English, we're talking about growth, growth, and more growth.
Most cloud companies use a subscription-based model, locking their clients into transparent contracts that provide predictable revenue and high margins. Many of these companies are reinvesting some or all of their operating cash flow to expand their product portfolios, make acquisitions, and appeal to a broader set of businesses. While many of the stocks held by the Global X Cloud Computing ETF are pricey, the superior long-term growth prospects for cloud computing makes this premium well worth it for investors.
VanEck Vectors Junior Gold Miners ETF
When you think of opportunity, you probably don't think of investing in gold stocks -- but that would be a mistake. With the conditions ripe for a higher gold price and many mining stocks meaningfully cleaning up their balance sheets over the past five years, the VanEck Vectors Junior Gold Miners ETF (GDXJ 4.67%) is perfect for opportunistic investors.
On a macro level, we've probably never seen so many catalysts in the gold's sails at one time. A record $17.05 trillion in global investment-grade debt is currently sporting a negative yield, and the U.S. Federal Reserve has been crystal clear about its intention to leave its federal funds target rate at or near a record-tying low through 2023. When coupled with quantitative easing policy and additional fiscal stimulus measures that could pressure the U.S. dollar (the dollar and gold have an inverse relationship), the lustrous yellow metal looks as if it could head much higher.
As for the junior and mid-tier mining companies that comprise the VanEck Vectors Junior Gold Miners ETF, many have improved their financial status in recent years and are poised to benefit from higher gold prices. For instance, Yamana Gold, which is a top-10 holding in this ETF, has reduced its net debt from $1.7 billion to $619 million in about five years, all while focusing on production expansion at its lowest-cost mines.
The VanEck Vectors Junior Gold Miners ETF is also home to my largest holding, SSR Mining (SSRM 4.16%). Having recently completed its merger of equals with Turkey's Alacer Gold, SSR Mining is flush with cash and announced a $0.05 quarterly dividend, which'll be initiated during the first quarter of 2021. We're liable to see a number of precious-metal miners follow in SSR's footsteps and initiate capital return programs as their balance sheets improve.
ETFMG Prime Mobile Payments ETF
Another smart way for opportunistic investors to put their money to work would be to consider the ETFMG Prime Mobile Payments ETF (IPAY 0.72%). As the name implies, this is an ETF focused on businesses that engage in payment processing services or solutions, or are building digital/mobile payment processing infrastructure or software.
There's no question that COVID-19 has been a boon to online payment companies. With cash being viewed as a harbinger of germs, more consumers have opted for cashless alternatives, like credit cards and mobile payments. But what you might not realize is this trend was ongoing well before the pandemic hit. A 2019 Federal Reserve Payments Study showed that the number of cashless transaction topped 174 billion in 2018, which is up by more than 30 billion cashless transaction from 2015. While a cashless society isn't going to happen anytime soon, the trend toward mobile and digital payments is very clear.
The top holding in the ETFMG Mobile Payments ETF is Square (SQ 2.22%), which happens to be one of my favorite stocks over the next decade. Square is known best for its seller ecosystem that provides point-of-sale devices and analytics tools to small businesses. But its Square's peer-to-peer payment platform Cash App that's the really intriguing puzzle piece. Cash App has more than quadrupled its monthly active user count to 30 million in less than three years, and it looks to be well on its way to becoming Square's primary gross profit driver in 2021.
Mobile payments should be one of the decade's top growth trends, which makes the ETFMG Prime Mobile Payments ETF a smart place to park your money.