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Beware low-volatility ETFs

from Barron's

After blowout gains in 2013 that are unlikely to be repeated in 2014, investors looking for a less risky approach to stocks have the right idea. But low-volatility exchange-traded funds aren't the way to go. The lower-volatility, more staid stocks these ETFs invest in can get downright sluggish — or, worse, excitable — if too many investors pile in. Low stock valuations are part of the secret behind the "low-volatility anomaly," the long-term outperformance of stocks with less volatility than average. But these days, investors are in on the secret. more

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