Doug Fabian

The financial markets have been relatively calm during the past week or so. Even though stocks in the S&P 500 Index broke out to new highs intraday on Monday, there hasn’t been much real trading volume pushing the market in either direction.

So far in 2014, the broad-based measure of large-cap domestic stocks is just slightly in the green. Even after the big down month in January, and the subsequent rebound in February, we are right about where we were at the beginning of the year.

I’m actually welcoming the calm here in stocks, as I think the pendulum swung a bit too much in both directions so far this year. Of course, we are liable to see many more big swings in the markets this year, especially if the economic data continues to come in mixed. We are going to get several data reports next week, including the all-important jobs report next Friday, so until then I expect the calm mood to continue.

Things have been anything but calm in the commodities space, where a big move higher has taken place this year. The chart here of the DB Commodities Tracking Index Fund (DBC) shows the big spike higher since the beginning of February.

This secular trend higher in commodities is something we’ve been taking advantage of in our Successful Investing advisory service. If you’d like to take advantage of this trend, and other profitable trends just like it, then I invite you to check it out right now.


ETF Talk: Introducing First Trust

In keeping with our series of exchange-traded fund (ETF) providers, this week we will take a look at First Trust. As its name implies, First Trust offers a variety of trusts and funds, including unit trusts, variable annuities, closed-end funds, mutual funds, 401(k) and, yes, ETFs.

A company managing this smorgasbord of different investment vehicles needs to possess a special insight into the simplicity and convenience of both using ETFs and providing that opportunity to investors. First Trust was not the first company to offer ETF investing, but it did enter the game fairly early. It launched its first fund in mid-2003 in the form of the First Trust Value Line 100 ETF (FVL).

Doug Fabian

Doug Fabian is the editor of the monthly investment newsletter Successful Investing and is the host of the syndicated radio show, "Doug Fabian's Wealth Strategies."