Investment Professionals

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Thematic ETFs had a rough first quarter, falling as much, or more than global share market gauges like the MSCI World Index. The slow start follows two strong years in 2020 and 2021, where several thematics provided strong outperformance. Biotech in many ways exemplifies this reversal of fortunes. After being the best performing sector in 2020, thanks to coronavirus vaccine development, the sector fell 40% in the 12 months to Q1. While the causes of underperformance vary between funds, common roots include the Russian invasion of Ukraine, which threatens supply chains. And the Federal Reserve’s hawkish stance, which has put a dampener on growth companies. Below we look at each thematic in more detail. ETFS Hydrogen ETF (HGEN) HGEN fell 11.5% in Q1, thanks to rising interest rates and Senator Manchin vetoing US subsidies for clean hydrogen. HGEN is especially sensitive to higher discount rates as the majority (16 out of 30) of the companies it holds are loss-making. While HGEN’s performance is negative this year, in March, HGEN rallied 12.8% on a more dovish Fed). ...
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For some years, commentators have been comparing the thundering run in technology stocks to the dotcom bubble of the 1990s. For the past three years, technology has outperformed all other sectors, as promising new technologies have captured investors' imaginations. But comparisons of the present day to the dotcom era are arguably misguided. And claims that technology stocks are in a dotcom-style bubble are most likely wrong. Today’s tech rally vs dotcom The first difference between the two eras is the strength of the tech rally. Simply put: the dotcom rally in technology stocks was far more powerful than today’s. Had you invested $1 into the S&P 500 Information Technology Index, the major gauge of US tech stocks in June 1997, it would have turned into $3.20 by March 2000—a whopping 320% return in just two and half years. ...
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