Exchange-traded funds offer a convenient way to invest in sectors or niches that interest you. If you expect the economy to keep freaking us all out for the foreseeable future and you'd like to invest in solid defensive companies that tend to hold up in all kinds of environments, the Guggenheim Defensive Equity ETF
ETFs often sport lower expense ratios than their mutual fund cousins. The Guggenheim ETF's expense ratio -- its annual fee -- is 0.65%, which is a bit higher than many ETFs, but still considerably lower than the typical stock mutual fund. The fund is fairly small, too, so if you're thinking of buying, beware of occasionally large spreads between its bid and ask prices. Consider using a limit order if you want to buy in.
This ETF has outperformed the S&P 500 since its inception in 2006. 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.
With a low turnover rate of 32%, this fund isn't frantically and frequently rejiggering its holdings, as many funds do.
What's in it?
Plenty of defensive companies had strong performances over the past year. Sherwin-Williams
Other companies didn't do as well last year, but could see their fortunes change in the coming years. Annaly Capital Management
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.
Defensive stocks can help you sleep at night. So can the companies our analysts present in our special free report, "3 American Companies Set to Dominate the World."
Longtime Fool contributor Selena Maranjian, whom you can follow on Twitter, owns shares of Annaly Capital Management, but she holds no other position in any company mentioned. Click here to see her holdings and a short bio. The Motley Fool owns shares of Annaly Capital. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Annaly Capital and Sherwin-Williams. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.