Displaying items by tag: ETFs
In what seems one of the most predictable outcomes of the Coronavirus pandemic, asset managers have decided to pounce and launch virus-specific ETFs. Pacer ETFs has just launched the Pacer BioThreat ETF (ticker: VIRS, of course), which tracks a custom index which follows “U.S.-listed stocks of companies that help protect against or recover from biological threats to human health based on a proprietary, multi-step research process”. Other providers, such as EQM, are doing the same.
FINSUM: This is not as gimmicky as it sounds. Companies that have businesses that benefit from coronavirus are going to be a sustained investment focus for some time.
Markets are in a very rough place right now, with benchmark indexes approaching bear market territory on Monday. Energy and travel have been the epicenter of losses, but every sector s getting hit badly. With that in mind, what is the best sector to invest in right now? The answer may be—somewhat surprisingly—financials, and XLF in particular. Whereas the S&P 500 as a whole was in the 99th percentile of valuations historically before the big fall, financials were only in the 60-70% range. Now with the big tumble in prices, financials are in the bottom 1% of their ten-year valuation range.
FINSUM: So rates and yields are super low, which obviously hurts banks’ net interest margin and has led to financial stocks getting pummeled. However, they are so cheap that this is a very good long-term entry point.
It has taken a long time for bond ETFs to begin getting even a tiny bit of the attention stock ETFs have gotten, but the trend has finally taken hold in earnest, and that s good news for investors. While active bond funds have done well in recent years (perhaps due to it being considered easier to outperform a bond index than a stock index), bond ETFs have now started to surpass them in growth. This is adding much more liquidity to bond funds, which benefits investors substantially. Both active and passive bond funds have taken in over $200 bn each in 2019.
FINSUM: While “liquidity mismatch” worries will continue to linger, the fact is that bond ETFs make a lot of sense (perhaps even more than stock ETFs?) because they circumvent minimum-buy and illiquidity issues, allowing many more people to access hard-to-reach corners of the bond market.
The Charles Schwab-TDA acquisition will likely have a host of implications for advisors. While it will take time to figure out and explore all of those, one of the immediately negative effects will likely be less funds available on the platform. As advisors will know, TDA did not have its own suite of ETFs, while Schwab does. This meant that TDA did not favor its own funds on its platforms and there was plenty of room for everyone. Schwab openly favors its funds. With the platforms now combining, smaller funds of all varieties are going to be more challenged to find buyers and survive. Even large fund houses like BlackRock might be at a disadvantage because of how the deal will help Schwab grow its ETF offerings.
FINSUM: this is going to lead to further consolidation in the fund business and will likely allow Schwab’s ETFs to grab even more market share. They are currently in 5th place.
After what was a great run for much of this year, ETFs investors are fleeing bonds. After yields fell sharply for most of 2019, investors have been stung this month as yields have shot higher. Ten-year Treasuries have gone from 1.7% to 1.9% yields, causing over half of all bonds to lose value. Investors have been pulling billions out of funds as a result. The iShares 20-year Treasury ETF has lost 7.8% since August 28th. One of the areas that has been more durable is high yield, where average prices have risen a little over 1% in the same time frame.
FINSUM: Bonds losing is a sign that investors are getting less worried about a recession, which in our view is an optimistic sign.