It's not too late to find investor-friendly exchange-traded funds specializing in safe-haven currencies and precious metals, experts say, though the August 2 deadline for raising the U.S. debt ceiling is days away. For more intrepid individuals, there are even some tech ETFs that seem to be holding their own.
SWITZERLAND, JAPAN, BRAZIL
The Swiss franc and Japanese yen are safe-haven currencies seeing plenty of action, and the move up is likely to continue as investors flee riskier assets, said Matt McCall, president of Penn Financial Group and editor of The ETF Bulletin.
He recommends the CurrencyShares Japanese Yen Trust ETF, which has risen 12.5 percent since its 52-week trough last July to its year high of $126.69 on Tuesday.
"It's a great way to hedge because it typically goes inverse with the U.S. stock market," McCall said. "As long as it can hold above 125, it looks very strong."
He sees $130 as the ETF's next target level.
A more cautious option with a strong track record is the CurrencyShares Swiss Franc Trust ETF, McCall said.
"It's one of the best charts I've ever seen," he said, in reference to the ETF's 32.3 percent rise since last July to $123.56 on Tuesday. "It's the currency that everyone has been going to because of the stability of Switzerland."
McCall believes the ETF could reach as high as $135 by year-end.
Tom Lydon, president of Global Investment Trends in Newport Beach, California, is touting Brazil for dollar-shy investors. The Wisdom Tree Dreyfus Brazilian Real Fund ETF tracks Brazil's commodity-driven economy and is up nearly 16 percent from December to $29.90 on Tuesday.
PRECIOUS METALS FOR THE JITTERY
Investors flock to gold and silver during times of uncertainty and the SPDR Gold Trust remains a favorite among advisers and portfolio managers.
The ETF has risen nearly 40 percent since last July to $157.80 on Monday. McCall says it's his biggest ETF holding.
Another favorite is the iShares Gold Trust, which tends to move neck-and-neck with its SPDR competitor.
For longer-term investments, Market Vectors Gold Miners ETF, which tracks gold mining companies, is a good play, according to Lydon.
"Even if we don't have a continued upswing in prices, there's a huge profit built into it," he said. "If we continue to see demand, which I think we will, then these miners are poised to do well."
The ETF rose 17.4 percent in the past month to $61.71. If it breaks $64, it has the potential to hit $70 by the end of the year, a return of about 10 percent for new investors.
McCall also likes the iShares Silver Trust ETF , though he says gold "is the way to go" for a short-term hedge against the uncertainty being generated by Washington.
STOCK STANDARDS-TECHS AND CYCLICALS
Investors edgy about their government but eager to support U.S. companies have some choices as well, said Michael Rawson, an ETF analyst at Morningstar in Chicago.
He likes funds concentrating on companies in the technology, industrials and consumer staples sectors since the industries are likely to weather a debt-downgrade storm.
"Tech spending has held up pretty well and will continue to hold up," Rawson said.
He prefers the Vanguard Information Technology ETF to the SPDR Information Technology ETF because VGT tracks a broader swath of large, medium and small U.S. companies while the SPDR focuses on big S&P 500 companies. VGT is up about 10 percent since mid-June while XLK is up about 8 percent for the same period.
In industrials, Rawson likes the SPDR Industrial Select Sector Fund , which is heavily weighted toward large-cap giants, with 11 percent in General Electric, 6 percent in United Technology and 5 percent in United Parcel Service and Caterpiller Inc.
Another option for stock-hungry investors is the SPDR Consumer Staples Select Sector Fund, which has risen 8.1 percent year to date to close at $31.74 on Monday.
"It has a lot of big companies like Wal-Mart -- companies we'll go to no matter what happens," said McCall.
But Rawson warns that consumer staples are subject to fluctuations in consumer confidence.
"Even though sales and revenue hold up, the multiple that people assign could erode because part of that multiple is in consumer confidence," he said.