Mar 22, 2018
Eurozone Outlook for 2018 Trade idea – ETFS EURO STOXX 50® ETF (ESTX) Economic growth in the eurozone is at the highest level in a decade and the outlook is positive for 2018. ECB stimulus remains intact as inflation remains subdued and the euro continues to strengthen. Political headwinds tapered significantly in 2017, though some hurdles remain on the radar. ESTX provides low cost exposure to the blue-chip eurozone companies driving European growth and offers unhedged upside to a further strengthening euro. In this week’s ETFS Trade idea, we look to the European economic and political outlook for 2018 and highlight potential opportunities as well as some challenges on the horizon. Eurozone economy growing at fastest pace in a decade European data continues to paint a picture of an economy on the up, with positive momentum predicted to carry into 2018. Eurozone GDP grew at a rate of 2.7% in 2017 and the outlook remains positive, with the IMF forecasting growth to remain above 2% for at least the next two years. Moreover, while much of the initial impetus had come from the powerhouses of Germany and France, the periphery has now started to follow suit. Labour markets are looking strong, with unemployment across the region continuing to plummet and wage growth picking up. Despite slipping slightly in February, sentiment remains high, with economic and consumer confidence both at levels last seen in 2001. PMI data remains positive and there are signs that excess capacity is shrinking as economic growth gathers pace. Monetary policy outlook remains stable In the face of an expanding economy, the monetary policy outlook is surprisingly stable. Monetary stimulus in the form of the ECB’s unprecedented asset-buying programme is likely to remain. Inflationary pressures appear subdued, with CPI falling from 1.5% in November to 1.4% in December, well below the ECB’s target level of 2%. The strength of the euro is also aiding the stimulus impact by reducing inflationary pressure from imported goods. In US dollar terms, the euro has appreciated by over 17% since the start of 2017. In historical terms, the currency is currently sitting close to its long-term average level, and many analysts are predicting further appreciation in 2018. Political risks remain on the horizon Political risks, so prominent in the European dialogue over the past decade, took a back seat to the improving economy in the second half of 2017. French, Dutch and German elections took place without major incident as the anti-EU populist threat appeared to dissipate. Italian elections last week saw a move away from the establishment parties. Whilst details on policy directions have yet to emerge, the equity markets in Italy and across Europe have reacted positively this week. Other risk events likely to have a bearing on the shape of Europe this year include the ongoing Brexit negotiations and developments in the Catalan push for independence. How to invest in the eurozone? ETFS EURO STOXX 50 ETF (ESTX) is well positioned for investors for the following reasons: ESTX captures the performance of the 50 largest corporations in the eurozone – all significant global players in their fields. ESTX tracks the world’s most widely traded European benchmark index – the EURO STOXX 50 Index. ESTX is unhedged with respect to currency movements; meaning that investors benefit from a strengthening euro or weakening Australian dollar and vice-versa. No UK companies are included in ESTX, making it somewhat Brexit remote compared to other panEuropean funds. ESTX is the joint lowest cost Europe-focused ETF on the ASX with an MER of 0.35% p.a. ESTX is domiciled in Australia so there are no W8-BEN tax forms for investors to complete and US estate tax is not applicable ESTX has Recommended rating by Lonsec.
Feb 09, 2018
With volatility picking up, why don’t you consider owning gold? Trade idea – ETFS Physical Gold (GOLD)/ ETFS Physical Singapore Gold ETF (ZGOL) Volatility has returned to the markets Downside risks have increased dramatically Gold has been consistently one of the best portfolio hedges against geopolitical risk and inflation Below we take a further look at why you should be holding gold There are three reasons why you should own gold. 1) Portfolio protection against volatility 2) Inflation hedging 3) Event risk hedging Points 1 and 2 have recently increased from “no concern” or “neutral” in investors’ minds to “serious concerns” so we believe that all advisers and planners should be considering including gold in their client portfolios, as it’s one of the most historically reliable hedges in such circumstances. Gold protects portfolios against negative equity volatility Just last week we had an example of gold performing as an event risk hedge when equity markets plummeted and the gold price surged upwards. On 5th February, we saw global equity markets fall with the S&P 500 down 4.1% and the ASX 200 down 1.6%, meanwhile the gold price was up 0.5% in USD terms as investors were turning risk averse. The year-to-date performance chart on the right highlights the price actions of the day. (Source: Bloomberg, data as of 13th February 2018) Historical performance is not an indication of future performance and any investments may go down in value. Gold against inflation Gold is also widely viewed as a tool against inflation. Historically, the gold price tends to appreciate when inflation and interest rates are on the rise. The chart below shows how the gold price moves largely in-line with the inflation (CPI) of the United States. Event Risk Hedge Lastly, although there have been no significant geopolitical events this year so far, it only takes one to roil the markets. As the table below shows, being in gold in nine out of ten of the events below was a positive when held within an investor portfolio. Summary There are three reasons why investors should own gold and two of them have dramatically spiked in terms of relevance. We believe all advisers should at least consider owning gold through this late economic cycle, where the probability of inflation and volatility is heightened.
Jan 30, 2018
ETFSTrade idea – A Look Inside the ROBO Global® Index Our world is being transformed as a new wave of innovation, often technology-led, challenges every aspect of how we live and work. In the final article of our Future Present series, we have selected 5 stocks from the ROBO Global® index to showcase how different businesses are riding on this megatrend. The stock stories inclided are; Novanta - Precision Surgery Yaskawa - Industrial Robotics GEA - Food and Beverage Processing Xilinx - Programmable Chips Koh Young - 3D Inspection
Jan 22, 2018
How the Future Present series fits your portfolio Trade idea – ETF Securities Future Present series i. ETFS Morningstar Global Technology ETF (TECH) ii. ETFS ROBO Global Robotics and Automation ETF (ROBO) Key Takeaways: Technology was the top performing sector in 2017, returning 39% for the calendar year and contributing 25% of the total global equity market return(1). The pace of innovation continues to grow and adoption of new technologies in fields such as robotics and AI is quickly spreading across many industries. Adding funds like TECH and ROBO to an otherwise diversified portfolio offers investors unique opportunities to capture any future growth in this sector, while also reducing overall portfolio risk. (1) Source: Bloomberg data as at 18 January 2017. Information technology companies contributed 5.73% to the total return of 23.06% of the MSCI World Index in 2017. Future Proofing Portfolios Investors looking to future-proof their portfolios in 2018 should consider the opportunities that are presented by investing in new technology and innovation. Fields such as robotics, automation and artificial intelligence (RAII), in particular, are forecast to grow massively in the coming years and impact almost every industry by providing key enabling technologies and new applications for existing technologies. Investments in technology have traditionally been viewed as high return/high risk, however in recent years the established players in the technology world have become highly cash generative and broadly entrenched in our everyday lives. This has given many technology companies defensive, counter-cyclical characteristics that are traditionally more associated with utilities and real estate investments and has changed the way many investors look at the technology sector. ETF Securities Future Present Range The Future Present range of ETFs allows investors to combine well-established technology firms with strong competitive advantages, using TECH, with highly innovative firms from the exciting world of RAII, using ROBO. The below study explores the impact of adding the Future Present range to a simple, diversified ETF portfolio consisting of Australian equities, international equities, fixed income, gold and property. Hypothetical portfolio allocations are detailed in Charts 1 and 2 below: Over the four years of available history, adding a 10% allocation to the Future Present range (5% each to TECH and ROBO), while keeping the allocation to equities constant, not only improves the overall total return by 0.84% per annum, but also reduces the portfolio volatility by 0.95%2. Charts 3 to 6, below, show the risk return characteristics of the two portfolios as well as each of the constituents over 1, 2, 3 and 4 years. Benefits to Your Portfolio Apparent from the four charts below is the strong historical performance of the Future Present ETFs, with the two funds ranking first and second on the basis of returns across all tenors. With regards to volatility or risk, as measured by standard deviation, TECH and ROBO are at the higher end, though not substantially more volatile than either the Australian or international equity ETFs or gold. In all four cases, however, diversification benefits are seen in that adding above average risk investments lowers the overall portfolio risk in all cases, providing investors with better risk/return profiles. This is particularly true for Australian investors with high portfolio allocations to the domestic market, which is very underweight the technology sector. Source: Morningstar Direct as at 31 December 2017. Benchmark index returns are used as a proxy for TECH and ROBO due to insufficient fund history. Returns in AUD. Past performance is not an indicator of future performance. These graphs illustrate the trade-off between risk (standard deviation or volatility around the mean) and reward (expected or average return). The ideal position is within the upper left quadrant of the graphs. Placement here indicates that the portfolio returned more than the risk-free benchmark (typically the yield on high quality government bonds) with lower volatility. The bottom right corner is the least desirable, since this represents highest risk with lowest return
Jan 09, 2018
ETFS Trade idea – The Rise and Rise of Technology Technology driven advances and the pace of innovation are the defining mega trend of our era. Developments in fields such as robotics and automation are changing many industries and are having an impact on the way we work and live. Our Future Present range of exchange traded funds offers simple and intelligent ways to bring your portfolio into the 21st century by capturing growth in companies at the forefront of the technology revolution. The rise and rise of technology It has become something of a cliché, but technology really is changing the way we live and work. On buses and trains, for example, half of the passengers are likely glued to smartphones or tablets. Technological developments are certainly not confined to telecommunications; in fact, new technologies are heralding enormous changes in a very wide range of industries globally. And, in some cases, technological advances are creating entire new industries whose participants are enjoying stellar growth rates. These powerful trends are interesting from an investment perspective. After all, the premise of equity investing suggests investors allocate capital towards companies that can generate and maintain strong growth rates, which are most likely to generate favourable long-term returns for shareholders. This philosophy is a hallmark of thematic investing, whereby investors seek to benefit from exposure to a particular trend or theme. Thematic funds can be additionally appealing to investors as their performance is often uncorrelated with economic cycles and other forces that drive mainstream equity and bond markets. Accessing pioneering companies with the greatest growth potential can be easier said than done. Small and mid-cap companies at the cutting edge of innovation in emerging industry sectors are typically not well represented in traditional market cap weighted indices. Constituents of the S&P/ASX 200 Index, for example, are more mature large-cap companies, often with more modest growth rates. Accordingly, investors might be missing out on some of the brightest current investment opportunities, even if their portfolio is heavily weighted towards equities. Similarly, investors who focus primarily on the domestic market in Australia are not only missing out on the benefits of international diversification, but are likely to also be overweight sectors such as Financials and Materials. Significantly, they are also likely to be very underweight sectors such as Information Technology and Heath Care, which are major sources of growth and innovation. In recognition of this – and reflecting our desire to offer investors fresh, innovative and value-adding investment options from across the globe – ETF Securities has launched the Future Present range. This range of funds enables investors to access some of the most appealing investment niches currently available, conveniently and cost-effectively through an exchange traded fund (ETF) vehicle. Accessing a new world of investment opportunities The Future Present range has been designed to track the growth of new and innovative sectors that have historically been challenging for investors to access. Investing in the Future Present range of funds enables investors to participate in the growth arising from long-term structural shifts that are underway in various industries. The Future Present range was launched in 2017 with the only ETF in Australia offering exposure to the global technology sector – ETFS Morningstar Global Technology ETF (ASX code: TECH). Technology has been a major source of global growth in recent years. Since 1995, earnings across the technology sector have increased more than 500%, nearly double the wider market. This translates into an annual compounded growth rate of 8.5% per annum compared to 5% for the market. In 2017 technology was clearly the leading performing sector, averaging a total return of close to 40% on a market capitalization-weighted basis(1). In designing TECH, ETF Securities partnered with Morningstar, whose expertise as a leader in equity research provides insight used to identify the leading technology companies across the globe, based on rigorous analysis of the strength and sustainability of their competitive advantages. Furthermore Morningstar’s valuation models ensure that only firms trading at attractive valuations relative to peers are selected for the fund. Whilst mega-caps such as Apple, Google, Facebook and Amazon dominate, there is innovation and value to be found across the sector. From artificial intelligence to cyber-security, e-commerce and cloud infrastructure technology firms are growing and diversifying in many different directions. As such, companies are equally weighted within the fund to capture growth in small- and mid-cap companies that emerge as leading players in their field. The Future Present range has since expanded to include Australia’s first robotics, automation and artificial intelligence ETF – ETFS ROBO Global Robotics and Automation ETF (ASX code: ROBO). Companies are increasingly investing in automation as they seek to improve productivity; reducing production costs and, in turn, increasing profitability. Already generating more than $200 billion annually, sales in the robotics and automation sectors are tipped to increase more than five-fold over the next decade. (2) Currently, more than two thirds of industrial robots are employed in the automotive, electronics and metal industries(3) , but their use is likely to become more widespread as artificial intelligence systems develop further. Improvements in image and voice recognition, for example, as well as increasing usability of machine vision technology will enable robots to perform ever more complex tasks, widening their application and seeing them penetrate other industries. For ROBO, ETF Securities has partnered with ROBO Global, pioneers in robotics and automation investing and the developers of the benchmark industry classification system for the sector. ROBO Global’s expertise lies in their ability to identify companies that are best-placed to benefit from the structural changes underway. Which have competitive advantages that are likely to persist through time? Which are most profitable and likely to generate the strongest long-term returns for shareholders? Benefiting from ETF Securities’ heritage as Australia’s second oldest provider of exchange traded products, combined with the specialist expertise of our research partners, the Future Present range provides investors with a unique opportunity to invest in mega trends that are occurring all around us. We look forward to expanding the Future Present product range in 2018 and beyond. (1) Source: Bloomberg data as at 11 January 2018. (2) Business Insider Intelligence, Cyber Security Report, Apr 2016 (3) Source: International Federation of Robotics 2016