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Weekly ETF Monitor for week ending 9 August 2019

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Aug 13, 2019

This week's highlights Global equities dropped last week as U.S.-China tensions escalated. European markets were also hit by political instability in Italy and slowing industrial activity. Gold mining ETFs (MNRS and GDX) were the top performing equity funds for the week. Asia-Pac ETFs (CETF, CNEW, UBP and IKO) along with domestic strategy ETFs (HVST, FAIR and SYI) were amongst the poorest performers. The precious metal rally continued. Silver (ETPMAG), gold (GOLD, PMGOLD and QAU) and palladium (ETPMPD) were all amongst the week’s best performing funds, along with a precious metal basket ETF (ETPMPM). Total flows into domestically domiciled ETFs were $302m, while outflows totalled $142m. The biggest inflows were into domestic equities (A200, MVW and IOZ) and gold (GOLD). Floating rate cash products (QPON and FLOT) were also popular. Outflows were primarily from broad international equities (IVV, IEU, ESTX and IJP). A200 was the most traded fund last week, ahead of STW and A200. GOLD continued to trade well above its average volume on sustained investor interest. ETFS Physical Gold (GOLD) returned 3.8% for the week and is now up 20.7% year-to-date. Last week gold traded above US$1,500 for the first time since 2013 and continues to hit new all-time highs in A$ terms. With bond yields continuing to fall, currency wars on the horizon and geopolitical tensions on the rise, there is a strong case for holding gold as both a portfolio diversifier and store of value. Globally over US$9bn has flowed into physical gold ETFs so far in 2019.

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Investing in ETFs over Reporting Season

Aug 13, 2019

Published: 13th August 2019 Product in Focus: ETFS S&P/ASX 300 High Yield Plus ETF Key Points August reporting season is in full-swing, presenting investors with both opportunities and risks. ETFs offer a simple and cost-effective way to diversify away from single name risks. ZYAU, which holds companies based on quality and yield factors, could be an attractive solution over this period. Reporting season is upon us as most Australian companies prepare to present their financial results for the period ended 30 June 2019. This article looks at the risks and opportunities that may present themselves during the up-coming weeks and demonstrates how ETFs can be used to avoid some of the pitfalls that can arise. Reporting Season highlights Of the S&P/ASX 200 constituents, 152 will report by the end of this month, with activity peaking in the middle two-weeks of August. Highlights include Rio Tinto on 1st of August, Commonwealth Bank on the 7th, CSL Limited on 14th, Telstra Corp on the 15th and BHP Group on 20th. Wesfarmers and Woolworths report on 27th and 29th, respectively. Figure 1 provides a visual guide to the season ahead. Opportunity or Risk? Over the coming weeks market professionals will be positioning their portfolios and adjusting their ratings and targets in anticipation of earnings reports. Not only are they forecasting company results, following each announcement comes the task of digesting the details and evaluating how the market will react. With China’s slowing economy, global trade concerns, Brexit, Hong Kong and rate cuts on the cards both locally and abroad, there are also a lot of external factors to consider. For professional investors, reporting season represents an opportunity. Those with better insight into the workings of each company and a better ability to read how the market will interpret earnings reports and changes in external variables have a better chance of beating the market. For average investors, however, the risks of making a bad call on a single company can often outweigh the potential rewards. Stock Picking Is a Zero-Sum Game It is often not appreciated that stock picking and active management is a zero-sum game. For every investor who outperforms the market, another investor must underperform. The average return earned by all investors is, by definition, the return of the market. To demonstrate this, we introduce the concept of dispersion. Dispersion is a measure of how spread out stock returns are over a period of time. Figure 2 shows two simple examples. In Panel A, where dispersion is low, the opposite is true. To use an extreme example, in the case where all stocks have the same return, which is the market return, dispersion is zero and there is no ability for anyone to outperform the market. In Panel B, where stock returns are very spread out or dispersed, there are high rewards available for correctly picking the winners, but there are also high risks for backing the losers. How Risky Is Reporting Season? We now turn our attention to the Australian reporting season and investigate the dispersion of stocks over the two key reporting months; February and August. To do so we calculated the dispersion of S&P/ASX 200 stocks on a monthly basis over ten years, where dispersion is measured as the standard deviation of returns between stocks. Monthly dispersion numbers are then averaged across each calendar month over the sample period. Results are shown in Figure 3. As anticipated, the two highest dispersion months are February and August. On average the dispersion across these two months is over 2% higher than over other months. The conclusion that we draw from this is that reporting periods present both the biggest opportunity to beat the market, but also the biggest risk of lagging the market. For investors who do not have an edge, the risks of attempting to beat the market can be high. So, what can the average investor do to avoid such risks? Diversification using ETFs Exchange traded funds offer a simple and easy solution. They allow investors to purchase an entire portfolio of ASX-listed stocks in a single trade. Low-cost diversification is a key feature of ETFs and this is exactly what investors need over periods where single-name risk and market dispersion is anticipated to be high. Broad-based ETFs, which closely tracks the market, can be useful for riding-out risker periods, but investing in ETFs does not necessarily mean simply investing with the market. It is still possible to take an active position, while diversifying-away single stock risk. ETFs offer a wide range of different exposures, most of which provide significant diversification benefits. One strategy for reducing earnings-related volatility is to invest in high quality firms with stable income. ETF Securities offers a unique fund in this regard, which filters ASX-listed companies for both yield and quality. ZYAU provides exposure to a selection of 40 Australian companies that have high dividend yields and/or share buy-back rates. To be eligible for inclusion the companies must have stable or increasing dividends and must generate Free Cash Flow to Equity above the amount of their distributions. This avoids companies who are using debt to finance unsustainably high yields and helps to identify high quality companies. Companies with stable yields and strong cash flow generation tend to be well-established, stable businesses with strong balance sheets and may be less prone to negative earnings surprises. Fund Name ETFS S&P/ASX 300 High Yield Plus ETF (ASX Code: ZYAU) Management Fee 0.35% per annum Benchmark S&P/ASX 300 Shareholder Yield Index Inception Date 9 June 2015 Distribution Frequency Quarterly 12 Month Yield 5.09% plus franking credits Holdings A full list of current holdings is available through the product PCF located here. In Summary ZYAU offers investors a portfolio of high quality, yield-paying stocks on the ASX that can help achieve diversification in a single trade at a relatively low cost. This can be particularly powerful over reporting season, where returns in individual stocks tend to be more spread out and the risks from choosing the wrong stocks is higher. ZYAU is currently yielding 5.09% p.a. plus franking credits and has consistently been one of the best performing Australian equity-income ETFs since coming to market in 2015.

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Weekly ETF Monitor for week ending 2 August 2019

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Aug 06, 2019

This week's highlights Global equities declined last week despite the Fed’s first rate cut since 2008. Infrastructure and property ETFs (VBLD, VAP and MVA) were amongst the top performing equity funds, while Asia-Pac ETFs (IKO, IZZ, UBP and IAA) were the biggest decliners. In precious metal markets gold continued its strong run, while palladium saw a big drop. GOLD and PMGOLD both returned 3.2%, while gold mining ETF (GDX) topped the returns table for equity funds. Palladium fund ETPMPD fell 7.7%. The Australian dollar fell to US 68c. U.S. dollar ETFs (YANK, USD and ZUSD) were all amongst the weeks top performers. Total flows into domestically domiciled ETFs were $339m, while outflows totalled $12m. The biggest inflows were into cash (AAA) and broad-based equity funds (A200 and IVV). GOLD continues to attract strong flows, with over $75m of inflows since the beginning of June. AAA was the most traded fund last week, followed by domestic equity funds (VAS, STW and A200). GOLD traded well above its average volume. ETFS Global Core Infrastructure ETF (CORE) returned 1.2% for the week and is now up 15.1% year-to-date. CORE uses a dynamic, rules-based approach to stock selection, choosing the 75 least volatile infrastructure stocks globally on a quarterly basis.

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Weekly ETF Monitor for week ending 26 July 2019

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Jul 30, 2019

This week's highlights Global equities advanced last week as the S&P 500 and Nasdaq 100 hit new all-time highs and the S&P/ASX 200 came close to doing likewise. Cyclical stocks outperformed, with ETFS Morningstar Global Technology ETF (TECH) topping the ETF performance charts. U.S. mid- and small-cap funds (IJH and IJR) and other tech-heavy funds including NDQ, HACK and ROBO followed. Global equity strategy funds including MGE and MOAT also posted strong weeks. Precious metal prices continued to rise ahead of the anticipated Fed rate cut this week. Platinum and silver were the biggest movers. Gold mining ETFs (MNRS and GDX) retreated. The Australian dollar fell below US 70c, driving unhedged ETFs higher. AUDS was the week’s poorest performing ETF, while YANK was amongst the top performers. Total flows into domestically domiciled ETFs were $307m, while outflows totalled $173m. The biggest inflows were into broad based domestic equity funds (A200 and IOZ), cash and fixed income funds (FLOT, QPON and AAA) and gold (GOLD). The largest outflows were from PLUS and STW. AAA was the most traded fund last week, while PLUS, QPON and FLOT all saw above average volumes as cash and fixed income funds dominated volumes. ETFS Morningstar Global Technology ETF (TECH) returned 5.0% for the week and is now up 29.9% year-to-date. Strong earnings from Google and across the semi-conductor industry propelled the sector higher. Morningstar’s moat methodology, which identifies quality companies with high levels of competitive advantage at attractive valuations, is used in TECH’s stock selection process.

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Weekly ETF Monitor for week ending 19 July 2019

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Jul 22, 2019

This week's highlights Global equities ended the week lower on ongoing geopolitical risks and mixed economic data. The Australian share market posted a modest gain, with small cap ETFs (SMLL and VSO) outperforming. Oil prices slumped on the prospect of easing U.S.-Iran tensions and demand concerns. OOO declined 7.5% for the week and global energy companies (FUEL) were also impacted. Technology heavy funds including NDQ and CNEW were also amongst the week’s poorest performers. Precious metals benefited from the risk-off sentiment, pushing higher. Spot gold added 0.7%, hitting new 6-year highs, while silver jumped 6.4%. ETPMAG was the week’s top performing ETF, while platinum (ETPMPT), gold (QAU and GOLD) and a basket of four precious metals (ETPMPM) were all amongst the top performers. Gold mining ETFs (MNRS and GDX) benefited, each adding over 6% for the week. Total flows into domestically domiciled ETFs were $199m, while outflows totalled $35m. The biggest inflows were into cash and fixed income funds (AAA, IAF, HBRD, CRED and ISEC). Gold (GOLD) also saw strong flows. The largest outflow was from UBA. STW and AAA were the most traded funds last week, while A200 and VHY saw above average volumes. ETFS Physical Silver (ETPMAG) returned 7.1% for the week and the metal is now trading at US$16.20 per ounce, over 14% above its May low. Silver has lagged gold in recent years, despite growing industrial demand from technology-related industries, with the closely-monitored gold-to-silver price ratio recently touching levels not seen since 1992.

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Weekly ETF Monitor for week ending 12 July 2019

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Jul 16, 2019

This week's highlights: Over the week BetaShares Crude Oil Index ETF - Ccy Hedged (OOO) returned 4.7% and BetaShares Commodities Basket ETF - Ccy Hedged (QCB) was up 2.5%. This resembled a strong trend as much of the top performers were hedged commodity products. The worst performers over the week were Robotics and Property ETFs. BetaShares Global Robotics and Artificial Intelligence ETF (RBTZ) ended the week down 3.5% and ETFS ROBO Global Robotics and Automation ETF (ROBO) was down 3.2%. YTD performance remains best among geared Australian and U.S. Equity funds with the worst performers conversely the Australian and U.S. bear funds. The best performers over the previous twelve months are ETFS Physical Palladium (ETPMPD) up 74.2% and VanEck Vectors Australian Property ETF (MVA) up 30.1%. Inflows for the week totalled $258 Million and outflows $107 Million. Notably SPDR S&P/ASX 200 Fund (STW) had outflows of $81.9 Million and BetaShares Australia 200 ETF (A200) had inflows of $60.5 Million. Cash, Bond and Gold ETFs also saw a steady inflows.

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