Apr 13, 2018
Global equities rose last week despite U.S. military action in Syria and further global trade concerns. The S&P 500 gained 2.0% as company tax cuts started to flow into Q1 earnings reports. Energy and technology were the top performing sectors. Elsewhere the EURO STOXX 50 rose 1.2%, while the Nikkei 225 gained 1.0%. Domestically, the S&P/ASX 200 added 0.7%. Energy and resource sector ETFs (FUEL and QRE) were amongst the top performers last week, while defensive sector funds like infrastructure (CORE) and real estate (MVA) were amongst the poorest performers. U.S. CPI inflation rose to 2.4% pushing the 2yr-10yr Treasury spread to its narrowest since 2007 and firming rate-rise expectations. The Australian dollar gained 1.0%, ending the week at US 77.64c. The euro gained 0.4% against the U.S. dollar, while the U.S. dollar gained 0.4% against the yen. Crude oil rallied on U.S. involvement in Syria. WTI crude added 8.6% for the week. OOO was the week's top performing ETF, returning 8.5%. Gold gained 1.0% on safe-haven flows, while palladium jumped 9.2% on Russian supply concerns. ETPMPD returned 7.2% for the week. The Australian ETF market saw inflows of $149m into and outflows of $26m from domestically domiciled funds last week. The largest inflows were into BetaShares S&P/ASX 200 Resources Sector ETF (QRE) and a range of equity and cash funds. The largest outflow for the week was from UBS IQ Morningstar Australia Dividend Yield ETF (DIV).
Apr 10, 2018
US-China trade tensions dominated financial markets last week. The S&P 500 fell by 1.4%, with technology and industrial stocks leading the decline. The VIX peaked above 24.0 on Tuesday. In Europe, PMI data failed to meet expectations, but the EURO STOXX 50 still added 1.4%. Domestically, the S&P/ASX 200 gained 0.5%. Australian resource sector ETFs were amongst the best performers last week, with MVR, QRE and OZR all returning in excess of 1.6%. The Australian dollar range traded last week, ending slightly higher at US 76.84c. The U.S. dollar gained against both the euro and yen. U.S. and Australian treasury yields both rose. WTI crude oil dropped 4.4% for the week. Gold gained 0.6% as investors looked to diversify out of volatile equity markets. Platinum declined 1.6% and palladium dropped 5.0% as auto-industry concerns around U.S. - China trade tariffs heightened. Palladium was further impacted by potential sanctions on Russia, the world's largest producer. ETPMPD, OOO and ETPMPT were all amongst the poorest performing funds for the week. The Australian ETF market saw inflows of $27m into and outflows of $246m from domestically domiciled funds last week. Inflows were spread across a range of equity and fixed income funds. iShares S&P/ASX 200 ETF (IOZ), saw redemptions of $185m and BetaShares Australian High Interest Cash ETF (AAA) lost $56m in assets.
Apr 09, 2018
ETFS Trade idea – The Aussie yield ETF that challenges active managers ETFS S&P/ASX 300 High Yield Plus ETF (ZYAU) In the wake of S&P Dow Jones Indices recently published SPIVA® report, this week we have taken a look at how our ETFs have fared against active managers over time. This note highlights ZYAU, which has produced strong excess returns since inception and outperformed many well-known active managers. Investors looking for cost-effective excess returns from domestic equities should consider evaluating ZYAU. In this week’s ETFS Trade idea, we look at the results of the SPIVA® Australia Scorecard released by S&P Dow Jones Indices last month and compare the performance of ZYAU to a collection of well-known active funds focused on Australian equity-income. SPVIA® Australia Scorecard 2017 S&P Dow Jones Indices have been publishing SPIVA® Scorecards for major markets since 2002 and have become leading contributors to the active versus passive debate worldwide. The SPIVA® Scorecards track the performance of active fund managers in each market against benchmark indices across a variety of categories and across multiple time horizons. Looking specifically at Australian large-cap equity funds, as at the end of 2017 59% of funds underperformed the S&P/ASX 200 Index. Over 3, 5 and 15 year periods, respectively, 67%, 63% and 77% of funds underperformed the national benchmark. An equally-weighted portfolio of active funds would have underperformed the benchmark over 1, 3, 5, 10 and 15 years. Similarly, in the mid and small-cap categories, 74% and 75% of funds underperformed the S&P/ASX Mid-Small Index over 1 and 3 years. How does ZYAU compare to active funds? ZYAU sits in-between a traditional active fund and a purely passive index tracker in the area commonly termed ‘smart-beta’ or ‘enhanced-alpha’. Smart-beta funds passively track an index, but the index they track has features that differentiate it from a standard market capitalisation-weighted index and aim to outperform a standard index in much the same way that active funds do. In the case of ZYAU, it tracks the S&P/ASX 300 Shareholder Yield Index, which aims to outperform the S&P/ASX 300 benchmark by selecting a sub-set of constituents based on ‘shareholder yield’ – a combined measure of dividend yield and buy-back yield. Because ZYAU’s investment strategy is pre-defined it has several potential advantages over active funds: its strategy is consistent, published and available for investors to evaluate and scrutinise its holdings are published in the public domain on a daily basis because it trades on exchange, investors can trade intra-day, unlike with many active funds because the fund does not require a team of fund managers to continually evaluate its holdings, it can charge management fees more in-line with passive index trackers. ZYAU’s stocks selections tend to be more “active” than many active funds, with its Active Share, or non-overlapping weight, versus the S&P/ASX 200 currently at 80.5%. This means that ZYAU can better compliment a core index holding in a portfolio. Table 2, below, shows comparative performances and headline management fees of ZYAU against a collection of well-known active funds that focus on Australian equity and equity income. Low Cost Firstly, to note, ZYAU’s management fee compares favourably to the active funds, as would be expected. ZYAU charges a fee of 0.35% p.a., which is below all of the active funds profiled and significantly below the average active MER of 0.83% p.a. Consistent Strong Performance With regards to performance, since its inception in June 2015, ZYAU has generated 2.19% p.a. excess return over the S&P/ASX 200, which puts it ahead of 16 of the 17 active funds. Only Bennelong Australian Equities Fund has outperformed, due to a very strong start to 2018. In the calendar year 2017, ZYAU outperformed the S&P/ASX 200 by 0.63% and beat 14 of its 17 active peers. In 2016, ZYAU outperformed 16 of the 17 active funds profiled and produced 5.42% of excess return over the benchmark index. Since inception, ZYAU has delivered strong performance at a fraction of the cost of many of its active peers and should be, therefore, considered by investors looking for cost-effective excess returns. How ZYAU invests ETFS S&P/ASX 300 High Yield Plus ETF (ZYAU) is well positioned for investors for the following reasons: ZYAU captures the performance of a selection of 40 high yielding Australian shares selected from the S&P/ASX 300 Index and rebalanced twice annually. ZYAU initially screens stocks based on liquidity, free cash flow to equity and dividend growth rates. This excludes stocks that are illiquid, are returning more cash to shareholders than they are earning, or have recently cut their dividend payouts. ZYAU then selects the 40 stocks with the highest shareholder yields for inclusion and weights them according to a mix of shareholder yield and market capitalisation. ZYAU has an MER of 0.35% p.a. ZYAU has a Recommended rating by Lonsec.
Mar 23, 2018
Global stocks retreated as volatility returned last week. Trade war fears, White House uncertainty and the Facebook data scandal combined with tightening monetary policy in the U.S. spooked markets worldwide. The S&P 500 declined 6.0%, its worst week in over 14 months, while the VIX peaked above 26 late on Friday. Elsewhere, the EURO STOXX 50 declined 4.1% and the Nikkei 225 fell 4.9%, while locally the S&P/ASX 200 dropped 2.2%. U.S. focused ETFs were the poorest performers for the week, with the technology sector hardest hit. NDQ declined 7.2%, IVV and SPY were both down 6.1% and TECH also dropped 6.1%. Crude oil, gold and gold mining ETFs were the top unleveraged plays for the week. The Australian dollar retreated 0.7% against the USD to end the week just below US 77c. The U.S. Fed Reserve raised its target rate by 25 basis points and signalled a faster pace of tightening than previously expected. The Japanese yen gained 1.2% against the U.S. dollar to reach its highest level since November 2016, while the euro gained 0.5% to sit just below its recent three-year high. WTI crude oil jumped 5.7% as inventories dropped, to end the week at US$65.88/bbl. Precious metals gained, with gold adding 2.5% to US$1,347 and silver adding 1.4% on safe-haven buying. The Australian ETF market saw inflows of $209m into and outflows of $31m from domestically domiciled funds last week. The largest inflows were into domestic equity funds with the biggest movers being STW, adding $110m, and resource sector ETF QRE adding $41m.
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.