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
Oct 30, 2017
Europe Playing Catch Up ETFS Trade idea – ETFS EURO STOXX 50® ETF (ESTX) The European Central Bank’s (ECB) proactive approach is helping aid Europe’s economic recovery Lending growth is on the up The ECB wants a weaker euro which will support many of the multi-nationals in the EURO STOXX 50, who generate a majority of their revenue offshore ETFS EURO STOXX 50 ETF (ESTX) provides low cost access to European stocks without any UK exposure. This ETF was rated Recommended by Lonsec Whilst we focus on what Trump will tweet next, what new high the Dow will hit, or how long the Australian market can continue moving sideways, Europe has quietly been going about its business, continuing its recovery phase. This recovery has been aided by the ECB’s proactive approach and a stabilising geo-political environment. What should investors be looking at in Europe? What are the ECB doing? Last week on Thursday the ECB met market expectations for tapering its bond purchase program. Globally markets responded positively. For the day at close of markets on Thursday 26th October: o EURO STOXX 50 Index was up 1.3% o DAX was up 1.4% o Positive news from the ECB had a spill-over effect on the S&P 500 which was up 0.2% Show me the money Analysing Eurozone M3 data for September, lending growth is extending: o Lending to corporates rose to 2.5% y/y o Mortgage lending rose to 2.4% y/y o Consumer credit growth steady at 6.7% M1 (good indicator of transactions demand for money) in September rose to 9.7% y/y from 9.5% y/y in August Recent European reporting season Whilst the Australian reporting season was somewhat uneventful, the recent European season showed that the region is recovering strongly: Is Europe over or undervalued? The EURO STOXX 50 is still cheap when looking at valuations against other broad indexes Europe earnings also show that it has much greater catch-up potential The ECB wants a weaker euro The ECB’s concern about a rising euro will see it continue to adopt a dovish stance, as seen in last week’s policy announcement The ETFS Research team believe that any spikes higher in the euro are temporary and that the market has largely priced in tapering of the ECB’s bond purchasing program A weaker euro will support many of the multi-nationals in the EURO STOXX 50 that generate a majority of their revenue offshore Below chart shows a breakdown of the geographic revenue exposure of the EURO STOXX 50 and the S&P 500 Given the continued revival of Europe, the ETFS EURO STOXX 50 ETF (ESTX) is well positioned for investors for the following reasons: no inclusion of UK companies means fallout from Brexit negotiations is reduced the proportion of revenue generated offshore is close to 50% meaning a weaker euro could be a positive scenario for many of the constituent companies ESTX is the 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 Recommended by Lonsec
Aug 22, 2017
ETFS S&P/ASX 300 High Yield Plus ETF (ZYAU) In this week’s ETF Securities trade idea we look at dividend yield strategies and how they can be used in different ways depending on the investor's goals. Dividend strategies can be implemented in different ways to achieve different goals, which have their own pros and cons. Beware of dividend traps, chasing yield may lead to poor investment choices. Capital growth versus income generation – don’t sacrifice one for the other.
Aug 09, 2017
Is AUD/USD risk on the downside? ETFS S&P 500 High Yield Low Volatility ETF (ZYUS) Key Teakeaways: The AUD/USD exchange rate is currently close to 2 year highs, at just below US 80c. US rate expectations pulled back in July as political developments have cast uncertainty over the pace of US reforms and growth. Investors with a view that the USD is undervalued or the AUD is overvalued can play a reversal via ZUSD, which is the most cost effective way to access direct US dollar exposure with an ETF. A declining USD has been the key theme in foreign exchange markets this year. The AUD has gained more than 8% from its mid-May lows, while the US Dollar Index (DXY), a measure of the value of the USD against a collection of major world currencies, has dropped nearly 7% over the same period. As shown in Figure 1 the recent appreciation of the AUD has been particularly steep, with the currency peaking at US 80.66c in late July, while the DXY has been in a downward trend for most of 2017, falling over 10% from its peak in the final days of 2016. Chaotic administration weighing on the US dollar. With the Russia investigation, continual changes in key personnel and failures to negotiate Congress, the Trump administration is failing to meet the lofty expectations set by the market last November. Whilst the Fed is now considered likely to raise rates only once more this year, the US economy is generally in good health. US 10 year treasury yields have fallen by just over 10 basis points since the start of July, suggesting that the long-term monetary policy outlook is relatively unchanged. With temporary factors and uncertainty being the main drivers of the lower dollar, a swift reversal is a possible scenario if confidence is restored. Last Friday’s US employment numbers, which exceeded analyst expectations, were an example, with the DXY jumping 0.75% almost immediately. RBA talking AUD down. The strength of the AUD has in part been a result of a shift in the expected direction of the RBA’s next rate move. However, the RBA last week noted that the higher currency is a concern for growth and cut its estimates for 2017 GDP growth by 0.5%. Further validation of a slowdown could quickly shift AUD sentiment to a bearish stance. What does this mean for investors? Investors wishing to express a bullish USD/bearish AUD view may consider the ETFS Physical US Dollar ETF (ZUSD) . ZUSD offers exposure to an appreciation of the USD against the AUD with a management fee of 0.30% per annum, making it the most cost effective ETF offering this exposure in Australia.
Jul 06, 2017
European monetary policy in the spotlight ETFS EURO STOXX 50® ETF (ESTX) Key Takeaway: Despite Draghi’s hawkish statements, Europe’s economic indicators still point to a strong continuing recovery with levels over and above Australia, the US and the UK. In this week’s ETF Securities trade idea we look at key economic indicators released in June across the eurozone as well as looking ahead to the potential end of monetary stimulus, as hinted by the European Central Bank last week, and what that means. Manufacturing in the Eurozone - In June manufacturing in the eurozone continued to expand at pace, with Markit’s eurozone manufacturing PMI indicator of factory activity moving to its highest level since April 2011, pointing to a significant increase in GDP growth in Q2. Germany led the way, but even Greece showed signs of expansion during the month. Composite PMI, combining manufacturing and services, dipped, but remained strong, as shown in Figure 1. Eurozone GDP Growth for Q1 2017 was at 0.6% for the quarter, well above the levels seen in the UK at 0.2%, the US at 0.45% and Australia at 0.3%. In an annual basis, as shown in Figure 2, the eurozone had gained significant ground in recent years. Unemployment held firm at 9.3% in May. While the headline rate is still historically high, it has decreased by a full percentage point in just 15 months and is down from a peak of 12.1% less than four years ago, as shown in Figure 3. Inflation figures released at the end of last week disappointed and clouded the picture somewhat. Headline CPI fell back to 1.3% in June, having peaked at 2.0% in February, as shown in Figure 4. Core CPI, which exclude the volatile energy segment, rose to 1.1% providing some evidence for those looking to frame a reflationary argument. The end of monetary stimulus in the eurozone? Hawkish comments from ECB president, Mario Draghi, last week hinted at the end of monetary stimulus in the eurozone. Although the implications were later watered-down, the market’s reaction to the possibility of near-term tapering was reminiscent of the 2013 US taper tantrum; the euro leapt to a 16 month high, German 10 year Bund yields rose to an 18 month high and the EURO STOXX 50 dropped 2.9% for the week. Sustainability The episode has raised questions as to whether the region’s recovery is sustainable or a result of the extraordinary stimulus measures implemented over the past two years. Cautious statements that followed suggest that stimulus will remain in place for some time, which should be positive for equity markets. Alternatively, as shown in Figure 1, a rising-rate environment has also historically coincided with strong equity market performance over the longer-term. What does this mean for investors? Investors wishing to take a view and add Europe to their portfolio may consider using ETFS EURO STOXX 50® ETF (ESTX), the only ETF in Australia tracking Europe’s leading blue-chip index. ESTX offers unhedged exposure to the eurozone with a management fee of 0.35% per annum.
Jun 22, 2017
Palladium on the move? ETFS Physical Palladium (ETPMPD) In this week’s ETF Securities trade idea we examine the drivers behind palladium’s recent price run (up 30% YTD) and look at whether it has further to go. We identify four key points to consider: Palladium’s major use is in autocatalysts used in emission reduction equipment in gasoline cars and its main suppliers are South Africa and Russia Demand for gasoline vehicles is on the rise in key markets such as China and India and diesel demand is declining globally Electric vehicle demand is yet to reach sufficient scale to impact palladium prices significantly Speculative positioning in palladium is high, but not excessive Palladium is a metal used mainly in pollution abatement equipment. Approximately 80% of palladium is used in autocatalysts to reduce the emission of carbon dioxide and nitrogen oxides. There are higher loadings of palladium in gasoline cars than there are in diesel cars. Diesel cars have higher loadings of platinum (which performs a similar role to palladium, but its more suited to diesel engines which operate at lower temperatures). About 40% of platinum demand comes from autocatalysts. About 40% of mine supply of palladium comes from South Africa and another 40% comes from Russia. Historically, the Russian government had been selling its stockpiles of the metal, but there has not been any metal from this source since 2013. There is no transparent data on whether the Russian government has more stocks to sell. Palladium has appreciated by 30.0% in US dollar terms in 2017-to-date and, as shown in Figure 1, is approaching parity with platinum for the first time since 2002. Consumer preferences have tilted towards gasoline vehicles away from diesel, which accounts for much of the rise in demand for palladium relative to platinum. The automobile growth in markets like China, India and other emerging markets is a key area of strength. These are generally gasoline markets. These countries are also tightening emission standards which will increase the loading requirements of palladium. Established diesel markets like Europe are not seeing automobile growth on the same scale and regulatory fall-out from the emissions scandal and technological advancements have further tilted demand away from diesel. Electric vehicles (EVs) are growing rapidly from a small base. While electric vehicles account for less than 1% of global sales today, consensus estimates that it will rise to 4% by 2025. Most EVs do not contain palladium and so the growth of this type of vehicle will reduce a source of demand. We don’t think that the growth of EVs will materially change the supply-demand balance for palladium in the next couple of years, but will do as the market continues to grow. Speculative positioning in the futures market is elevated, as shown in Figure 2. Net longs are above their 5 year historic average but are still well below 2013-2014 levels when concerns about mine supply were aggravated by strikes in South Africa. Supply is subject to abrupt changes. Mine closures due to strike activity, embargoes of exports from certain countries and recycling dependency on other metals are some of the examples of factors that cause supply disruptions. While changes in demand can be quite surprising, as we have seen with the rotation toward palladium (gasoline engines) from platinum (diesel engines) in light of the emission scandal, generally changes in demand are more gradual. Investors wishing to add palladium exposure to their portfolios may consider using ETFS Physical Palladium (ASX Code: ETPMPD), the only ETP in Australia providing investors with physical exposure to the metal. ETPMPD offers holders a direct entitlement to palladium vaulted at HSBC in Switzerland with a management fee of 0.49% per annum.