May 31, 2018
ETFSTrade idea: ETF Volatility - Truths and Misconceptions In this week’s ETFS Trade idea, we look at the misconceptions around ETFs causing volatility and explain why these are myths. High level observations: ETFs have been unfairly targeted as the cause of market volatility ETFs tracking the ASX 200 have successfully stayed in line with the volatility of the benchmark ETFs can cause movements in the underlying market but so do active funds and investors buying securities directly In nearly all cases ETFs match the volatility of the market they track and this is what should be expected from an index tracking fund
May 18, 2018
Global equities were mixed last week. The S&P/ASX 200 declined by 0.5% with financials, energy and resources performing strongly in the face of rising interest rates and energy prices, while utilities and telecommunications suffered. The S&P 500 declined 0.5% with energy, industrial and materials sectors also gaining ground at the expense of real estate, utilities and IT. Small caps outperformed in the U.S. with IJR and IRM amongst the top performing ETFs for the week. The EURO STOXX 50 gained 0.2% as Italy moved closer to a populist coalition, while the Nikkei 225 gained 0.8%. BetaShares Global Energy Companies ETF (FUEL) was the top performing ETF for the week. VanEck Vectors Australian Banks ETF (MVB) was the top performing domestic equity fund. The U.S. 10-year Treasury yield jumped 9 basis points to reach a new 7-year high above 3%, while the Australian 10-year Government Bond yield rose 12 basis points. The U.S. dollar gained against the Aussie, euro and yen last week. The Australian dollar ended the week at US75.1c. Crude oil continued to climb, with Brent Crude briefly topping US$80/bbl for the first time since 2014. Precious metals fell on rate-rise concerns, with gold suffering its worst week of 2018, down 2.0%. Platinum continued its downwards trajectory in 2018, falling 3.9% for the week to end 12.7% below its January peak. The Australian ETF market saw inflows of $103m into and outflows of $87m from domestically domiciled funds last week. The largest inflows were into BetaShares Australian High Interest Cash ETF (AAA), while the bulk of outflows were from SPDR S&P/ASX 200 Fund (STW).
May 11, 2018
Global equities rallied last week across most major markets. The S&P 500 added 2.4% on strong corporate earnings and economic data. Energy stocks were the top performing sector for the week, responding to higher oil prices in the wake of the U.S. withdrawal from the Iran nuclear agreement. Technology stocks also performed strongly, with HACK and NDQ both amongst the top performing funds on a price return basis. The EURO STOXX 50 gained 0.4% as Italy neared an agreement for a coalition government. Elsewhere the Nikkei 225 gained 1.3% while the MSCI Emerging Markets Index added 2.5%. Domestically the S&P/ASX 200 gained 0.9% on strong performance across the resources and energy sectors. The U.S. dollar gained against the euro and yen last week. The Australian dollar ended the week slightly higher at US75.4c. Crude oil continued to rally, reaching it highest levels since late 2014. BetaShares Crude Oil Index ETF (OOO) was amongst the top performing funds for the week. Precious metals also advanced, with gold adding 0.4% to US$1,319/oz and silver adding 0.8%. The Australian ETF market saw inflows of $103m into and outflows of $72m from domestically domiciled funds last week. The largest inflows were into BetaShares Australia 200 ETF (A200) as well as cash and fixed income ETFs (IAF, PLUS and AAA), while the bulk of outflows were from BetaShares S&P/ASX 200 Resources Sector ETF (QRE).
May 08, 2018
The S&P/ASX 200 gained 1.8% last week, its best weekly performance in over a year. Every sector registered a positive return for the week, with Financials, Materials and Real Estate sectors being the largest contributors. Small cap stocks also performed strongly, with three domestic small cap ETFs (MVS, ISO and SSO) all returning close to 3% for the week. Offshore, the S&P 500 declined modestly, despite a technology-driven recovery towards the end of the week. ETFS Morningstar Global Technology ETF (TECH) was the top performing international fund for the week. The recent U.S. dollar rally continued last week as the Fed expressed confidence in the U.S. inflation outlook. The DXY Dollar Index gained 1.1% and reached new 2018 highs. The Australian dollar dropped below US75c before recovering in late trading on Friday. The euro declined by 1.4% against the U.S. dollar following disappointing eurozone inflation numbers. WTI crude oil continued to rally, adding 2.4% for the week. Precious metals mostly retreated, with gold declining 0.7% to US$1,315/oz. The broad Bloomberg Commodity Index gained 0.7%. The Australian ETF market saw inflows of $283m into and outflows of $60m from domestically domiciled funds last week. Broad-based domestic equity funds saw $82m of inflows across VAS, STW, MVW and EX20, while investors switched from Vanguard MSCI Index International Shares Hedged ETF (VGAD) to its unhedged counterpart (VGS).
Apr 27, 2018
Global equity markets mostly advanced last week as North Korea risks receded. The S&P/ASX 200 added 1.5%, the EURO STOXX 50 gained 0.7% and the Nikkei 225 added 1.4%. The S&P 500 ended the week flat after recovering from some disappointing earnings results, mainly across the industrials sector. Defensive sectors returned to favour, with global and domestic property funds (DJRE and RENT) amongst the top performers. ETFS S&P 500 High Yield Low Volatility ETF (ZYUS) benefited from strong performances across the utilities and real estate sectors, returning 3.3% for the week. The U.S. dollar strengthened last week, with the DXY Dollar Index gaining 1.4%, and U.S. 10-year Treasury yields reached 3%. ETFS Physical U.S. Dollar ETF (ZUSD) returned 1.4% for the week as the Australian dollar dropped below US76c for the first time in 2018. WTI crude oil held firm last week, close to its recent 3-year highs above US$68/bbl. Precious metals retreated, with gold declining 0.9% and silver falling 3.6%. The broad Bloomberg Commodity Index fell 0.5%. The Australian ETF market saw inflows of $66m into and outflows of $23m from domestically domiciled funds last week. The largest inflows were into iShares CORE Composite Bond ETF (IAF) and iShares Edge MSCI Multifactor ETF (WDMF). The largest outflows were from iShares S&P/ASX 20 ETF (ILC).
Apr 22, 2018
ETFSTrade idea – Conflicting signals in the U.S. - Time for caution? ETFS S&P 500 High Yield Low Volatility ETF (ZYUS) ETFS Physical U.S. Dollar ETF (ZUSD) The U.S. economy continues to surprise to the upside with markets rebounding strongly. Yet rising inflation, subdued long-term rates and geo-political risks remain a concern. For a defensive U.S. equity exposure, investors should consider ZYUS. Avoiding equity-risk and looking for currency? Consider ZUSD. In this week’s ETFS Trade idea, we look at the outlook in the U.S. for monetary policy, the economy and the dollar. We highlight two funds that can be used in different ways to play the U.S. story; ZYUS and ZUSD. Rate rises on the horizon… Market expectations for multiple rate rises from the U.S. Federal Reserve in the remainder of 2018 have firmed in recent weeks. The economy is still in expansionary territory, though inflationary concerns are becoming more pertinent. US Core CPI rose to 2.1% in March, its highest level in over a year, while March PPI numbers also exceeded expectations. The Fed Beige Book reported strong economic activity, but showed significant business concerns around Trump’s planned steel and aluminium tariffs. Figure 1 below shows the current probabilities the futures market is implying for Fed activity for the remainder of 2018, with two further hikes narrowly the most likely outcome. ...but longer-term growth concerns are becoming more pronounced. While short-term yields have been rising, the yield curve has seen a substantial flattening, with the difference between 2-year and 10-year Treasury yields at their lowest since late-2007 (see Figure 2). Speculation of a curve inversion is starting to emerge. Historically this would indicate that the peak of the current rate cycle is approaching and present a subdued outlook for growth. U.S. dollar weakness continues… Despite rising short-term rates, the U.S. dollar has been in a steady down-trend since early 2017, as shown in Figure 2. This can be partly attributed to President Trump’s rhetoric regarding trade and towards China, but also to a gradual unwinding of GFC-era flight-to-safety trades. …but political risks could be a catalyst With the impositions of tariffs and a potential trade with China, military action in Syria, sanctions against Russia and talks with North Korea on the horizon and February’s equity market volatility still fresh in the memory, there is no shortage of event risk candidates looming. With external events and any evidence of longer-term U.S. economic strength both likely to have a positive impact on the dollar, it appears that near-term risks may lie to the upside. Why ZYUS? ZYUS invests in U.S. stocks from the S&P 500 screened for both high yield and low volatility. As such, the fund tends to be overweight defensive sectors like utilities and real estate and underweight more volatile sectors like technology and financials. The S&P 500 Low Volatility High Dividend Index, which ZYUS tracks, has outperformed the S&P 500 by over 3.6% per annum over the past 10 years and has outperformed on a monthly-basis in over 70% of months during which the S&P 500 has posted a negative return. After underperforming the S&P 500 by over 9.5% in 2017, mainly due to its underweight to technology, ZYUS has recently picked up. Outperformance in March 2018 was over 3% as volatility hit the tech sector and risk-aversion appeared. ZYUS should be considered by investors wanting to maintain U.S. equity exposure, but take a more cautious view on growth and the landscape ahead. Why ZUSD? Investors looking for pure exposure to the U.S. dollar strengthening against the Australian dollar without taking on any equity risk may consider ZUSD, which tracks the exchange rate by investing in short-term USD deposits. How ZYUS invests ETFS S&P 500 High Yield Low Volatility ETF (ZYUS) is well positioned for investors for the following reasons: ZYUS captures the performance of a selection of 50 high yielding U.S shares selected from the S&P 500 Index and rebalanced twice annually. ZYUS initially screens stocks based on dividend yield, reducing the 500 stocks down to 75. ZYUS then selects the 50 stocks with the lowest volatility for inclusion and weights them according to their dividend yield. ZYUS has an MER of 0.35% p.a. ZYUS has a Recommended rating by Lonsec. How ZUSD invests ETFS Physical U.S. Dollar ETF (ZUSD) is well positioned for investors for the following reasons: ZUSD captures the performance of the U.S. dollar against the Australian dollar, by investing all of its assets in U.S. dollar bank deposits. ZUSD currently holds overnight USD deposits with Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Limited (ANZ), earning interest at 1.30% p.a. ZUSD has an MER of 0.30% p.a., making it the lowest cost U.S. dollar exposure available on the ASX. ZUSD has a Recommended rating by Lonsec.