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Europe Stacks up Despite Brexit

Mar 14, 2019

Europe Stacks up Despite Brexit Product in Focus: ETFS EURO STOXX 50 (ESTX) Brexit uncertainty has impacted on investor sentiment towards Europe . However there are multiple indicators that the negativity around the rest of Europe has been overdone . EURO STOXX 50 up 9.4% year to date in line with S&P 500 . Europe will always be a core part of investor portfolios. Perhaps now is a good time to allocate? Uncertainty surrounding the protracted Brexit negotiations has seen many investors shy away from European equity markets in favour of higher returns in the US. Yet, with the US economy looking increasingly vulnerable to a slowdown, it might be time for your clients to refocus their sights on Europe – 20% of the world’s GDP. Why have Australian Investors Been Wary of Investing in Europe? Economic conditions in Europe have been surprisingly resilient throughout the political to-ing and fro-ing that has accompanied Brexit. European stock prices, however, have lagged their US counterparts. In 2018, the primary benchmark EURO STOXX 50 Index fell by around 14.3%, compared to a decline of just 6.2% by the S&P 500 during the same period. Poor performance by banking and auto stocks due to jitters around interest rates and tariffs, respectively, were the primary factors depressing European markets last year. Investor sentiment on Europe has been dampened by a range of factors. The cloud over Brexit, and its likely impact for the UK and continental Europe, is the obvious culprit. Ongoing budgetary conflict between Italy and the European Union, fears of an escalation in global trade wars and speculation on when the European Central Bank will raise rates, have also weighed heavily. But Do These Fears Stack Up? So far in 2019, it is a different story. The EURO STOXX 50 is up 9.4% year to date, tracking similarly to the S&P 500 (also up 9.4%) and relative valuations look more attractive. The euro is also approaching two year lows, which could provide a boost to Europe’s export sector. There are also suggestions that underlying economic conditions in the powerhouse economies of Europe are stronger than sentiment would suggest. This view is supported by the release earlier this month (March) of the Markit Eurozone Composite PMI numbers for February which were revised upwards to 51.9, the first increase (albeit slight) in private sector activity in three months. The PMI index tracks business trends across manufacturing and services based on data from over 5,000 companies. Another sign that the negative sentiment around Europe might have been overdone is the Citibank European economic surprise index. This index (which measures data surprises relative to market expectations) while still in negative territory, has been ticking upwards since the beginning of the year. Emotions Do Not Equal Facts The tendency for sentiment to run at odds with economic reality was raised recently by Martin Beck, chief economist at Oxford Economics. He spoke of the “the difficulty of separating emotion from hard economic developments in driving survey responses” during times of high uncertainty. A number of factors underscore the view that Brexit uncertainty is having a disproportionate impact on investor sentiment. Unemployment across Europe continues to fall and is at 10 year lows, wages growth has picked up and German retail sales rebounded in January, rising more than 3%. ….And What About BREXIT So how great are the Brexit risks for European stock performance? Certainly the economic fortunes of the UK are deeply entwined with those of the EU. The UK is among the EU’s three largest trading partners, accounting for about 13% of its trade in goods and services. While Brexit uncertainty has been damaging for both the UK and the Eurozone, the worst case ‘no deal’ scenario is likely to hit UK companies much harder than their European counterparts. The IMF has forecast that a no deal Brexit could result in a 4% hit to the UK’s GDP BY 2030 should Britain end up adopting the default World Trade Organisation rules for its trading relationships with the EU. The two countries with the largest weighting in the EURO STOXX 50 index, France and Germany by comparison are expected to suffer declines of only 0.2% and 0.5% of GDP, respectively. Meanwhile, a more benign Brexit scenario preserving access to the single market but not membership of the customs union would have only “negligible” impact on output and employment for the EU, according to the IMF. The ultimate consequences of Brexit for both the UK and Eurozone countries, however, are likely to take many years to materialise and will depend on whatever shape any eventual deal takes. Europe Without the UK - ETF Securities’ EURO STOXX 50® ETF As with any late cycle investment strategy, the key to any European foray is to focus on quality companies with strong earnings track records. To this end, Europe offers some of the world’s most prestigious blue-chip names. The EURO STOXX 50, includes the 50 largest and most liquid stocks operating in the Eurozone. The top 10 stocks in the EURO STOXX 50 Index (which is updated annually) are Total, SAP, Sanofi, Linde, Allianz, LVMH Moet Hennessy, Siemens, Unilever, ASML Holdings and Banco Santander. For investors looking to gain exposure to Europe, exchange traded funds offer a way to gain widespread diversification at a low-price. The ETFS EURO STOXX 50® (ESTX) offers broad based exposure to the 50 largest companies across the Eurozone by tracking the performance of the EURO STOXX 50 Index. For the year to date, ESTX is up 8.0% (in AUD). Source: Bloomberg data as at 11th March 2019

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Weekly ETF Monitor for week ending 8 March 2019

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Mar 11, 2019

This week's highlights Defensive sectors outperformed last week as most global equity benchmarks sold off. Gold mining ETFs (GDX and MNRS) and domestic real estate ETFs (MVA, SLF and VAP) were all amongst the week’s top performers. High beta funds including CURE, ROBO, HACK and RBTZ as well as Asia-focused ETFs (HJPN and IKO) were amongst the underperformers, all falling by more than 3%. Precious metal ETFs all declined, with platinum (ETPMPT) posting the biggest drop for the week. Total flows into domestically domiciled ETFs were $165m for the week, while outflows totalled $32m. The biggest inflows were into iShares Core Cash ETF (BILL) and iShares Global Consumer Staples ETF (IXI), while there were significant inflows into geared-short Australian equities (BBOZ) and outflows from geared-long Australian equities (GEAR). BILL and IXI also ranked highly in the most-traded ETFs for the week. VAS was the most traded fund for the week, while STW saw significantly below average turnover. ETFS Global Core Infrastructure ETF (CORE) posted a positive return of 0.7% for the week and is amongst the top performers on a 12 month basis, with a total return of 20.9% over a volatile period.

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Weekly ETF Monitor for week ending 1 March 2019

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Mar 05, 2019

This week's highlights China A-shares posted big gains last week as the U.S. announced it would delay planned tariff increases. CETF and CNEW returned 7.1% and 6.1% for the week respectively. European equities also rallied as the prospect of a no-deal Brexit lessened. ETFS EURO STOXX 50 ETF (ESTX) returned 2.3%, BetaShares British Pound ETF (POU) gained 2.0%. ETFS S&P Biotech ETF (CURE) was the week’s top performing ETF, returning 7.6% and is now up 26.2% year-to-date. Commodity ETFs were mixed with gold, silver and oil declining, while platinum and palladium rose strongly. Gold mining ETFs, GDX and MNRS, were the poorest performing ETFs for the week. Total flows into domestically domiciled ETFs were $181m for the week, while outflows totalled $50m. Fixed income funds IGB, IHCB, AAA, ILB and QPON all saw strong inflows. The week’s biggest outflows were from STW and GOLD. Trading volume was dominated by the usual suspects; AAA, STW, VAS and IVV, with above average trading seen in IGB, GOLD and IHVV. ETF Securities’ “Future Present” range of funds has continued its strong start to 2019 with CURE, ROBO and TECH all returning in excess of 17% year-to-date and ACDC up 7.3%.

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Weekly ETF Monitor for week ending 22 February 2019

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Feb 25, 2019

This week's highlights Globally, Chinese stocks rebounded last week as well as throughout Asia. Reporting season continued to see mixed results for Australia and the U.S. VanEck’s China focused ETFs CNEW and CETF lead the performance tables for the week. The ETFS Physical Platinum (ETPMPT) was the top performing commodity ETF for the week. Global and domestic bear products were the worst performers over the week as global and domestic markets continued their upward trend from January’s strong rally. Looking longer term, ETFS Physical Palladium (ETPMPD) remains the best performer over 12 months with 57.1% return. The physically backed metal has now reached over US$1,400/oz. Total flows for the week were dominated by cash and fixed income products including AAA, IAF and PLUS. With the ETF market seeing positive inflows of $50.3 million . Trading volumes were again highest among beta ETFs, with Magellan’s MGE making the top 10 for the week.

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Weekly ETF Monitor for week ending 15 February 2019

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Feb 19, 2019

This week's highlights Global stocks gained last week with energy, industrials and materials sectors outperforming as U.S./China trade talks progressed. VanEck Vectors China New Economy ETF (CNEW) and ETFS ROBO Global Robotics and Automation ETF (ROBO) were the top performing unleveraged equity funds for the week. High growth plays including RBTZ, CURE and IJR also posted strong gains. Domestic financial sector ETFs were amongst the week's worst-performers as the post-Royal Commission bounce receded; MVB, OZF and QFN all dropped more than 1.4%. Commodity ETFs were mixed with OOO returning 5.4% on reports of lower global oil production. Precious metals mostly declined modestly, with the exception of palladium (ETPMPD), which continued to hit new highs on growing demand and tight supply. Total flows into domestically domiciled ETFs were $54m for the week, while outflows totalled $22m. The week's largest inflows were into a mix of funds including CNEW, BBOZ, HBRD and FAIR. The largest outflows were from GEAR, IEU and IJH. Trading volume was dominated by the usual suspects; STW, VAS, IVV and AAA, with above average trading seen in NDQ, BBOZ and QOZ. ETFS S&P Biotech ETF (CURE) continues to be 2019’s top performing unleveraged equity fund, having gained 18.6% YTD.

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Here's the Buzz around Megatrends

Feb 18, 2019

Here’s the Buzz around Megatrends Products in Focus: The ETF Securities Future Present Range Q4 2018 saw high levels of volatility that particularly affected the tech sector and high beta areas of the market . YTD performance in 2019 has seen a rebound of many of these stocks . In this article we explore some of the key drivers of growth in the future . In the long term there is a positive outlook for technology, robotics, battery tech and biotechnology. At ETF Securities, we often talk about megatrends; disruption, displacement, game-changing and revolutionary technologies. Whilst it is easy to become cynical about the overuse of these terms, it’s clear that the pace of change is accelerating with no signs of slowing. Since 1956 there has been more than a trillion-fold increase in computing power where today the power of the iPhone 6 (an already outdated technology) could theoretically guide 120 million Apollo 11 rockets at once. Taking a step back, the greatest driver of this advancement is simply the enormous expansion in computing power. We now have capabilities to capture and analyse immense quantities of data, and this knowledge is being applied to a wealth of areas, with many of these technologies previously restricted to the realms of science fiction. The ETF Securities Future Present range gives investors a way to access disruptive technologies in a diversified manner. The range includes four funds targeting different sectors that are looking to have a greater presence in the future: TECH: ETFS Morningstar Global Technology ETF Once seen as a highly speculative investment, technology has now firmly cemented its place at the top of the S&P 500. It is fair to say that most people are highly dependent on leading tech firms that have become exceedingly integrated into our lives. We wake up, check the weather on our Apple iPhone, cycle to work on that (pricey) Cannondale and track the ride on our Garmin. Once at the office, the computer is booted up and Microsoft Office provides the tools to get us through the day. These technologies are ubiquitous and as such it is important to know the different ways of gaining exposure to the companies behind them. TECH holds a basket of 32 global technology stocks that have been identified using Morningstar’s moat methodology, meaning they have a competitive advantage over other similar businesses. With Morningstar’s active influence in this fund, it has outperformed the Nasdaq 100 since it was launched in April 2017. ROBO: ETFS ROBO Global Robotics & Automation ETF While the tech sector is dominating the present, it’s robotics, automation and AI (RAAI) that looks set to dominate the future. The outlook for growth in RAAI looks bright and with recent volatility providing increasingly attractive valuations in this sector, is now the time to consider to invest in this thematic? This year industry experts are pointing to improvements in network capabilities, particularly the roll out of 5G networks, aiding growth across the board, with the upgrade from 4 or 4.5G yielding as much as 10-100 time improvements in network speeds. These enhancements are instrumental in enabling the development and implementation of other technologies. Can you imagine using Netflix in the days of dial-up internet? Further penetration of manufacturing robots is also expected to occur as the automation of the workforce continues. Today’s China has approximately 1 robot per 100 manufacturing workers, with huge scope for growth if it’s to reach ratio’s in line with Germany and South Korea’s 6 per 100. These robots are performing monotonous tasks with high levels of precision and increasingly lower costs than their human counterparts, meaning companies will need to keep up with the levels of automation their rivals are using to keep up with the competition. ACDC: ETFS Battery Tech & Lithium ETF Global climate change and the move towards renewable energy is one of the most pressing issues of today and one of the key drivers of our success in addressing this issue will be in the development of energy storage. Imagine a world where battery technology is efficient enough to fly planes and feed power stations – this is the world companies behind this technology are striving for, and we’re already on our way with the explosion of electric vehicle development. But it’s not just electric vehicles making advances. In classic Musk fashion, Elon managed to make batteries the talk of the town in 2018 with his 100-day delivery of the Hornsdale Power Reserve battery in South Australia, currently the largest in the world. This drew attention for the necessity of pairing renewable energy generation with practical storage solutions. Whilst Tesla has had the first-move advantage in the electric vehicle (EV) market, it is rapidly being chased by established car manufacturers like BMW, Volkswagen and Nissan, who have equally ambitious goals to capture the growing consumer demand for green-transport. JP Morgan project EVs and Hybrid Electric Vehicles (HEVs) will account for 30% of all vehicle sales by 2025. CURE: ETFS S&P Biotech ETF Whilst biotechnology is arguably one of the oldest forms of technology, its prospects for future development are high. Since the first smallpox vaccine was administered in 1761, there have been huge advances in the biotechnology field. The sequencing of the first human genome in 2003 enabled a plethora of new biotech drugs to be developed. DNA sequencing has created hope for those previously suffering incurable diseases and has provided a quality of life where it was previously lost. At the time of writing 67 of the 119 stocks in CURE are either researching or producing diagnostic tools or drugs that treat cancer. Therapies are being developed for psychological disorders, inoperable tumours, chronic pain, hereditary diseases and degenerative illnesses. As an industry that is renowned for its volatility, biotechnology can be a particularly difficult sector to choose a winner. For the uninitiated, it is a realm full of highly specific medical jargon, tied up with regulatory barriers and inexplicable results to clinical trials. This is why CURE offers an equal weight and broad exposure to the biotech sector. And whilst it is difficult to know who will be responsible for the next breakthrough treatment, what we do know is that people will always pay for healthcare, especially as our aging population grows. This is an industry where success does not just mean more dollars in the bank, but lives saved, and families kept together. The Future is Now The examples above provide just a glimpse into the full scope of innovation that is captured by the ETF Securities Future Present Range. The future is now, and the way we live and work will continue to be defined by these mega trends. Accessing these sectors through a diversified, equal weight ETF allows investors to take a view on what trends will dictate the times to come.

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