Invest in Real Estate with This ETF (ICF)


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By Casey Murphy 

As the financial markets in the U.S. continue to trend higher many active traders are taking a closer look at the real estate sector for growth and income. One of the most common vehicles used by retail investors to gain exposure to a broad portfolio of real estate companies is the iShares Cohen & Steers REIT fund (ICF). As you can see from the chart below, the fund is trading within a significant uptrend and there are few signals that suggest this trend is going to reverse any time soon. (For more, see: Add Some Real Estate to Your Portfolio.)

This chart is an excellent example of the type of support that active traders expect to find at key long-term moving averages. In the case of ICF, the 50-day moving average (blue line) has propped up the price approximately six times since March 2014 (shown by the blue arrows). Stronger support is often found at the 200-day moving average, which you can see clearly identified by the red arrow. Traders will likely hold a bullish outlook on the fund until the price closes below one of the identified moving averages depending on his or her risk tolerance.


For those new to this ETF, the ICF fund provides broad exposure to dominant real estate companies across the U.S. markets. The fund has total net assets of approximately $3.7 billion and consists of 30 different components. From an affordability perspective, the fund trades with a 0.35% expense ratio, which is reasonable relative to funds with similar holdings. Traders looking to develop a watch list of quality real estate companies may want to analyze the fund’s top holdings, which we’ve provided in the table below:

Company Weighting (%)
Simon Property Group, Inc. (SPG) 7.89
Public Storage REIT (PSA) 6.97
Equity Residential REIT (EQR) 6.76
Health Care REIT, Inc. (HCN) 5.93
Ventas Inc. (VTR) 5.39


Taking a look at the chart of SPG, you can see that the share price is currently trading near a cluster of support levels. The brief period of consolidation over the past few trading sessions suggests that the $190 level is a key technical level and will likely be incorporated into many trading strategies. Active traders will likely remain bullish on the stock and protect their positions by placing a stop-loss order below the combined support of the ascending trendlines and the 50-day moving average ($190.93).


Public Storage is trading within one of the strongest uptrends found anywhere in the public markets. Strong underlying fundamentals combined with support from long-term moving averages makes this company an ideal candidate for real estate traders. Notice how the price has found support on each retracement toward the 50-day and 200-day moving averages. Traders will expect this uptrend to continue until the price closes below the 50-day moving average, which is currently trading at $194.72.


Real estate traders are benefiting from strong fundamentals, but they are also benefiting from extremely bullish chart patterns and strong support levels. At current levels, this sector should be near the top of the list for most traders. Those looking to increase exposure may want to consider the iShares Choen & Steers REIT or they may even want to create a watchlist of candidates based on the fund’s top holdings. (For more, see: The REIT Way.)

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