There is a big development happening in fund management. That is change is that fundamental and quantitative approaches are merging. Often, funds are no longer purely fundamental or quantitative, but instead merge the two, creating a whole new category which is starting to be referred to as “quantamental”. In its most simple form, quantamental often looks like a multi-factor ETF that also includes some continuous “human” intervention, such as reducing statistical quirks. However, more sophisticated approaches truly blend the two, using human skill to analyze stocks which are sending promising technical signals.
FINSUM: We are pretty fond of the principles which underpin quantamental approaches as they seem to take the best aspects of both philosophies. Time will tell if the approach is a winner in a broad sense.
Quantitative ETFs are growing in popularity. Using rules-based approaches to stock-picking is cost effective and has proven successful in many cases, making quantitative methods a good fit for ETFs. With that in mind, here are seven of the best quantitative ETFs: QuantX Dynamic Beta US Equity ETF (XUSA, 0.59% fee), Hull Tactical US ETF (HTUS, 0.92% fee), Cambria Global Momentum ETF (GMOM, 1.03% fee), U.S. Quantitative Value ETF (QVAL, 0.49% fee), IQ Chaikin U.S. Small Cap ETF (CSML, 0.35% fee), Vesper US Large Cap Short-Term Reversal Strategy ETF (UTRN, 0.75%), and the SPDR MFS Systematic Growth Equity ETF (SYG, 0.61% fee).
FINSUM: CSML was the most interesting of the group for us, as we think there is more alpha to be had in small caps with these sorts of approaches. We also ran this story in case anyone has clients who have been asking for more quant funds.
If history is any indication, the big surge in stocks that has started this year seems likely to continue. Markets have had a great week and the S&P 500 is up 11% on the year. Prices are only 5.3% off their all-time high. That bodes well because stocks tend to track their first two-month performance for the rest of the year. 64% of the time stocks continue to perform throughout the year just like they did in January and February. The last time the S&P 500 climbed more than 10% in January and February (1991), it rose an additional 14% for the year.
FINSUM: Stocks are in a sweet spot right now, with the Fed having backed off and trade fears easing. That seems likely to stay in place for a while, but we wonder if any stresses related to the 2020 election might start to weight on the market later this year.
Along with warehouse growth, data center expansion is one of the hottest areas of commercial real estate. So how to play it? These REITs were hit pretty hard at the end of the year, but they are now making a strong comeback. The big driver at the macro level is demand for cloud services and the growth of AI, both of which increase the need for data center space. Four stocks to look at are Equinix, CoreSite Realty (COR), Iron Mountain (IRM), and InterXion Holding (INXN).
FINSUM: Data centers seem to have some strong growth drivers behind them, and along with warehouses, we think they are strong ideas for REITs.
The recession has loomed over markets for months. However, in recent weeks those worries have faded a bit, especially as the Fed appeared to back off the gas pedal on rate hikes. However, a new survey from Bank of America Merrill Lynch shows that recession is the top fear among investors currently. A third of credit investors surveyed see a recession as their top fear. That is the highest level for a single worry in almost two years. Economic data is expected to continue to weaken, say investors.
FINSUM: The US seems to once again be the last one standing as the whole world starts to slow. Can we hold up yet again?