Displaying items by tag: equities

Passive fixed income inflows have accelerated in recent years, yet the category still trails passive equity strategies in terms of market share and adoption. Over the last decade, passive equity funds have become the dominant way in which investors get exposure to equities. Currently, passive equity funds account for 45% of global funds, while fixed income accounts for 24%. In terms of the global market, passive equity funds account for 19%, while passive fixed income comprises just 2%.

 

S&P Dow Jones Indices anticipates that we will see increased adoption of passive fixed income strategies over the next decade, similar to how passive took over the equity landscape. Already, inflows and market share of passive fixed income strategies are growing at a faster rate than equities. 

 

It should be noted that bond index funds in ETF form didn’t arrive until 2002, while equity ETFs launched in 199 and there are a limited number of fixed income benchmarks relative to equities. It’s also more difficult to replicate a bond index given that they tend to have thousands of securities, higher trading costs, more turnover, and require higher levels of oversight given maturation dates, defaults, credit rating changes, and new issues. Overall, it requires about 10 times more trades to track a fixed income benchmark than an equity benchmark. 


Finsum: Passive fixed income flows have accelerated in the last couple of years due to attractive yields. Here’s why some see the category exploding over the next decade, similar to passive equities, and what’s held it back.

 

Published in Bonds: Total Market
Friday, 02 February 2024 07:27

Bonds Rally, Stocks Fall Following FOMC Meeting

Stocks were lower, while Treasuries caught a bid following the latest FOMC meeting which was deemed hawkish despite the Fed holding rates as expected. In essence, Chair Powell’s remarks during the press conference made it clear that the central bank is not willing to cut yet.

 

In response, markets were in a risk-off mood. Fed futures showed that the odds of a rate cut at the next meeting declined from 40% to 36%, while the odds of the first cut happening in May increased to 59% from 54%. 

 

Overall, the policy statement and Powell’s press conference underscored that the Fed is moving in a more dovish direction, just not as fast as the market’s desired pace. The policy statement expressed that there is a better balance in terms of employment and inflation goals. However, before cutting rates, it wants to see even more progress on the inflation front. In essence, the resilient economy and labor market mean that the Fed has more latitude to continue its battle against inflation before pivoting to support the economy and risk re-igniting inflationary pressures.

 

Rather than hawkish or dovish, its current stance can be characterized as ‘data-dependent’. Some of the important releases, prior to the March FOMC meeting, will be the January and February employment data and consumer price indexes. 


Finsum: The Fed held rates steady but came out slightly more hawkish than expected. This led to the odds of a rate cut in March slightly dropping, but the bigger takeaway is that the Fed sees inflation and employment risks as being balanced and remains data dependent. 

 

Published in Bonds: Total Market
Thursday, 25 January 2024 05:47

What’s Behind the Squeeze in Uranium?

A noteworthy development in 2024 has been soaring uranium prices. The radioactive metal was up more than 90% in 2023 and is now at its highest levels since 2007. According to Ole Hansen, the head of commodity strategy at Saxo Bank, this move is being driven by increased demand from ETFs holding physical inventory and utilities who were not hedging due to years of low prices. 

 

Prices moved past $100 per pound last week following an announcement from Kazakhstan's state uranium company that it may fail to meet production goals due to construction delays and difficulty sourcing raw materials. This follows a slew of production downgrades from a variety of producers in 2023, adding to pressure on the supply side. 

 

On the demand side, analysts point to the Sprott Physical Uranium Trust and Yellow Cake as marginal sources of gold demand, contributing to the ‘squeeze’. As a result, many now expect uranium to exceed all-time highs from June 2007 of $136 per pound, and uranium miner equities have also been following the metal higher. 

 

Longer-term, many believe that the uranium market is at a deficit given the gap between yearly production and consumption. Currently, the gap has been made up by huge amounts of secondary supply, yet this inventory is also rapidly being depleted.  


Finsum: Uranium prices have continued momentum from last year. Many believe new, all-time highs are in store given increased demand from ETFs and utilities, while production is impaired.

 

Published in Eq: Energy

Two of the largest domestic natural gas producers and leaders in shale production, Chesapeake Energy and Southwestern Energy, have agreed to merge in a $7.4 billion deal. This continues a wave of M&A activity in the energy sector. For 2024, this is expected to continue given that many companies are flush with cash, while valuations are also attractive.

 

The merger is an all-stock transaction and is expected to close in the second quarter. According to Chesapeake CEO Nick Dell’Osso, the merger will enable them to compete on an international scale and lead to lower costs. The new, combined company will have a new name and a market cap of around $24 billion. It forecasts 15 years of inventory and expects a 20% increase in dividends due to “significant synergies” and an increase in free cash flow generation over the next 5 years. 

 

Last year, there were a handful of deals in the sector as ExxonMobil bought Pioneer Natural Resources for $60 billion, while Chevron bought Hess for $53 billion. Both companies were looking to boost production capacity. In 2024, analysts are forecasting that major energy producers will be looking to acquire high-quality shale holdings in public and private markets.


Finsum: Chesapeake Energy and Southwestern Energy agreed to a $7.4 billion merger. Analysts are expecting more M&A activity in the sector in the coming year.

 

Published in Eq: Energy
Tuesday, 02 January 2024 15:56

Are Single-Stock ETFs Here to Stay?

Single-stock ETFs were introduced in Europe in 2018 and last year in the US. Now, there are nearly 50 single-stock ETFs with the majority of them tracking mega cap tech stocks like Microsoft, Nvidia, Amazon, and Tesla. Collectively, they have $3.3 billion in assets. Providers include Direxion, AXS, GraniteShares, and YieldMax and strategies fall under option income, bull, or bear.

 

The largest one is the Direxion Daily TSLA Bull 1.5x Shares which has over $1 billion in assets and tracks the underlying stock with leverage by using swaps and other derivatives. The second-largest at $841 million in assets is the YieldMax TSLA Option Income Strategy ETF. This category of single-stock ETFs will sell call options on the underlying stock to generate monthly income. 

 

The recent success of these ETFs isn’t surprising given the strong performance of tech stocks this year with many hitting all-time highs. According to Rich Lee, the head of ETF trading at Robert W. Baird & Co., more single-stock ETFs will be hitting the market due to strong demand for these products, and he expects more innovation as well.

 

The current crop of single-stock ETFs are more suited for short-term speculation rather than long-term investing given higher costs. In August, the SEC issued a warning about these products, “Because leveraged single-stock ETFs in particular amplify the effect of price movements of the underlying individual stocks, investors holding these funds will experience even greater volatility and risk than investors who hold the underlying stock itself,” which encapsulates the risks. 


Finsum: Single-stock ETFs are a small but fast-growing category. While they’ve performed well due to the bull market in tech, they remain unsuitable for long-term investors. 

 

Published in Eq: Tech
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