According to Sam Stovall, chief investment strategist at S&P Equity Research, bull markets typically reclaim as much as 4/5 of bear market losses in the inaugural year. Using this historical logic, the S&P 500 should have made it as far as 1385, not merely 1140.

Stovall sees this underachieving bull... one that has recaptured about 1/2 of its losses from the top... as having significantly more room to go. He also takes comfort in the knowledge that no post-WWII bull market (1949-present) has ended in its second year.

Of course, every yin must have its yang. In this case, if you're a believer that the Great Recession shares more in common with the Great Depression, four of the five bull markets between 1932 and 1947 ended in less than two years.

In truth, for every piece of evidence that an investor may use to form an opinion about the future, one can offer a believable contradiction. If positive job growth occurs on a global scale, the investment community can decide it's too little, too much, irrelevant or just right. If domestic GDP growth runs at 3.5%, the investment community can herald the expansion or denounce the impact of government intervention.

Removing interpretations for the time being, we can certainly say the following about the S&P 500 SPDR Trust (SPY): (1) Like many U.S. exchange-traded funds, SPY rocketed 70% off the lows of 1 year ago, (2) SPY experienced 2 corrections (Jun-Jul 09 and Jan-Feb 10) of 8%-9% in the period and (3) The large cap proxy remains in a consistent uptrend above 50-Day and 200-Day trendlines.

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The simple facts may make stock assets appealing to some investors. After all, if you are tempering your riskier stocks with income-producing alternatives, and as long as your stock ETF holds above a 200-Day moving average, you may indeed be adequately managing your ETF risk.

It follows that you may not be having trouble with what to do with your stock assets at all; that is, you'll sell with a stop-loss or you'll sell if the stock ETF falls below a 200-Day trendline. The challenge is finding income producing alternatives that can diversify and that can deal with the high probability of rising interest rates.

I have written about a number of my favorites before. They include:

(A) Low Volatility ETFs With High Income Components. In this editorial, I talk about the 6%-7% yields offered by JP Morgan Alerian MLP (AMJ) and PowerShares Financial Preferred (PGF).

(B) Why Junk Bond ETFs Have Been Cleaning Up. I address pros and cons of popular High Yield ETFs like iShares High Yield (HYG). I also address the unique alternative in a hybrid area with SPDR Convertible Bond (CWB).

And there's a third income area that tax-averse investors should consider... Muni ETFs. In particular, most investors would be smart to avoid the higher risk associated with individual munis and/or individual state munis.

(Side Note: People are worried about Greece and Spain requiring the EU to keep those countries from defaulting on debt obligations; meanwhile, it may not be long before the U.S. Federal government will be in discussions to bail out California and/or a half-dozen other member states.)

For these and other reasons, I've been a long-time advocate of PowerShares Insured National Muni (PZA). It has been consistent in providing 4.75% annualized of federally tax-free income. For a top-bracket earner, that's closer to a 7.2% return.

Another one that's worth investigating is Market Vectors High Yield Muni (HYD). The 5.6% distribution yield may be worth as much 8.5% to a top bracket earner; what's more, a diversified basket of 70 high yield munis spreads out the risk of a significant number of defaulting municipalities.

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Disclosure Statement: ETF Expert is a web log (blog) that makes the world of ETFs easier to understand. Gary Gordon, MS, CFP is the president of Pacific Park Financial, Inc., a Registered Investment Adviser with the SEC. The company and/or its clients may hold positions in the ETFs, mutual funds and/or index funds mentioned above. The company does not receive compensation from any of the fund providers covered in this feature. Moreover, the commentary does not constitute individualized investment advice. The opinions offered herein are not personalized recommendations to buy, sell or hold securities. Investors who are interested in money management services may visit the Pacific Park Financial, Inc. web site.

If you'd like to learn more about ETF investing... then tune into In the Money With Gary Gordon. You can listen to the show LIVE, via podcast or on your iPod.

Disclosure Statement: ETF Expert is a web log (blog) that makes the world of ETFs easier to understand. Gary Gordon, MS, CFP is the president of Pacific Park Financial, Inc., a Registered Investment Adviser with the SEC. The company and/or its clients may hold positions in the ETFs, mutual funds and/or index funds mentioned above. The company does not receive compensation from any of the fund providers covered in this feature. Moreover, the commentary does not constitute individualized investment advice. The opinions offered herein are not personalized recommendations to buy, sell or hold securities. Investors who are interested in money management services may visit the Pacific Park Financial, Inc. web site.

You can view Gary's daily market commentary at www.ETFexpert.com. You can also email him directly at garygordon@mypacificpark.com.