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at MarketWatch.com (Jan 12, 2012)
at MarketWatch.com (Dec 9, 2011)
USMV vs. ETF Alternatives
The iShares MSCI USA Minimum Volatility Index Fund seeks investment results that correspond generally to the price and yield performance, before fees and expenses, of the MSCI USA Minimum Volatility Index.
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Country: United States
Tuesday, Feb 1110:07 AM
Tuesday, Feb 1110:07 AM| 31 Comments
- Making the rounds on trading desks is this chart of the DJIA (DIA) of the last 18 months superimposed on a chart of the index during the same time frame in 1928-1929. The short version: If form holds, the market is set for another epic crash.
- In the more nuanced version, the chart says little except for again proving the hardwired tendency of the human brain to see patterns where none exist, and one is reminded of similar exercises over the past few years making the case for the Dow breaching its financial crisis lows.
- Technical guru Tom DeMark, however, is starting to believe: “Originally, I drew [the chart] for entertainment purposes only ... Now it’s evolved into something more serious.”
- Tom McClellan: "There is no guarantee that the market has to continue following through with every step of the 1929 pattern. But between now and May 2014, there is plenty of reason for caution.”
- Large-cap ETFs: SPY, QQQ, SH, DIA, SSO, SDS, PSQ, IVV, SPXU, UPRO, VOO, SPLV, TQQQ, QID, PRF, SPXL, SPXS, RSP, DOG, SQQQ, QLD, DXD, RWL, EPS, UDOW, SDOW, USMV, DDM, VV, SCHX, IWB, NY, SPHB, BXUB, QQEW, QQQE, JKD, FEX, VONE, TRND, SFLA, EQL, BXUC, ROLA, QQXT, BXDB, EEH, ONEK, SPXH, TRSK, FWDD, EWRI, TNDQ, PXLC, LGLV, ALTL, SYE
Wednesday, Jan 810:34 AM
Wednesday, Jan 810:34 AM| 7 Comments
- "The Safety Bubble Deflates," goes the title of a new report from Bernstein's Seth Masters, adding his name to those voices suggesting "safe" assets have become otherwise.
- Even though utilities, telecom, and consumer staples have underperformed of late, says Masters, their relative valuations are still well above the average over the last 50 years. "In periods of stress, investors tend to prize stability and safety too much. But in time, investors discover that every investment carries with it some degree of risk: if not risk of loss, then risk of inadequate growth."
- Related ETFs: XLU, IDU, VPU, NLR, GRID, JXI, NUCL, DBU, IPU, RYU, PUI, UPW, FXU, SDP, PSCU, AXUT, FUTY, UTLT, XLP, VDC, FXG, RHS, FSTA, PSL, PSCC, IYZ, VOX, IXP, IST, XTL, LTL, FCOM, TLL, AXTE
- Barron's Jack Hough says the "low beta" approach is a flawed one: First, volatility can change quickly as companies' or industries' fortunes shift; Second, beta tells one nothing about whether a stock's valuation is high or low. In a similar warning over low volatility stocks, BAML suggests looking for companies with smooth earnings rather than smooth stock prices. Screening for such, Hough finds CSX Corp (CSX -0.6%), DuPont (DD +0.6%), Cisco (CSCO -0.6%), and Halliburton (HAL -0.8%).
- Low volatility ETFs: SPLV, USMV, ACWV
Monday, Jan 63:52 PM
Monday, Jan 63:52 PM| Comment!
- "The low beta bubble is on the verge of deflating," says the quant team at BAML. "Due to low beta stocks’ strong performance in an up market, these stocks have quietly become riskier than they appear."
- Looking at the relative valuations of the "low beta" vs. "high beta" names, the analysts find the staid stocks trading at their largest premium to the risky ones in more than a decade.
- Low volatility ETFs: SPLV, USMV
Monday, Dec 232013, 11:57 AM
Monday, Dec 232013, 11:57 AM| 1 Comment
- "If history provides any guidance, there will be a shift to more cyclical, higher beta names, before this rally is well and truly over," says Niels Jensen of Absolute Return Partners, noting investors are buying in a "cowardly" fashion - focusing on defensive, low beta stocks.
- The trend can be seen in low volatility stocks - and the ETFs built to own them, SPLV and USMV - trading at P/E multiple premiums to the broader market, while a high beta portfolio like SPHB is at a discount.
Wednesday, Dec 112013, 1:26 PM
Wednesday, Dec 112013, 1:26 PM| Comment!
- An MSCI study argues the low-volatility trade is a long way off from being a crowded one and says scalability isn't an issue, but the report, says Brendan Conway, didn't examine the market impact - i.e., the real world friction a large money manager might see moving in and out of positions.
- Then there's valuations - the study found low-volatility stocks had an average P-E ratio of 18.1x vs. 19.5x for all stocks from 1992-2012. But now the stocks making up the iShares MSCI USA Minimum Volatility ETF (USMV) trade at 18.5x earnings vs. the S&P 500 at 16.5x. Globally, it's similar, with the iShares MSCI All Country World Minimum Volatility ETF (ACWV) at 18.5x earnings vs. the MSCI ACWI ETF (ACWI) at just 16.5x.
- "[O]ver the past 10 years, the cheapness or 'valueness' of developed market low volatility stocks seems to have diminished. As of May 1, 2013, the earnings yield and B/P ratio data indicate that low volatility strategies have become more expensive than the market cap-weighted core indices," says Research Affiliates' FeiFei Li.
- Related: SPLV
Saturday, Nov 232013, 9:00 AM
Saturday, Nov 232013, 9:00 AM| 35 Comments
- The financial crisis changed nothing, writes Vanguard's Fran Kinniry: Investors continue to chase returns, and have lately been jettisoning fixed income for stocks. Driven by the 4th greatest bull market on record - a cumulative return of 198% since the bottom - global equity allocation for investors has increased to 57% from 38%, and vs. the 20-year median of 51%.
- It's probably time for the typical investor (one with an equity-heavy portfolio) to maintain a prudent allocation by directing new cash flows into bonds, while selling stocks - the exact opposite of where money is flowing today.
- "Rebalancing usually seems counterintuitive at the time when it promises to be most effective," says Finniry. "It can be difficult to implement from a behavioral standpoint and requires incredible discipline." With equities partying and the near-universal belief of higher interest rates on the way, who could blame an investor for not wanting to sell stocks and buy bonds.
- "It is very common following significant gains in the equity markets for investors to question the benefits of rebalancing," but it's never "different this time;" instead it's the "same as it ever was."
- Broad fixed income ETFs: AGG, BOND, BND, BSV, BIV, BLV, SCHZ, LAG, SAGG, ILTB, ISTB, GBF, GVI, MINC, FWDB, GIY
- Broad equity ETFs: VTI, PRF, SCHB, USMV, VV, SCHX, ITOT, ONEQ, IYY, NYC, JKD, EXT, EQL, FVI, EUSA, EEH, SPXH, TRSK, FSE, FSU, PXLC, FWDD, TOTS, FNDB, ALTL
Friday, Nov 12013, 12:03 PM
Friday, Nov 12013, 12:03 PM| 21 Comments
- Investors poured another $12.4B into global equity funds in the week ended Wednesday, with BAML's Michael Hartnett saying another $8B-$9B of inflows over the next two weeks would trigger a contrarian sell signal in his firm's flow-based model.
- This would coincide with BAML's Bull & Bear Index, which is getting a little to bullish for comfort. Fund manager cash levels were at 4.4% in October. A dip below 4% in November, says Hartnett, would trigger a bright red Sell alert.
- Stock index ETFs: SPY, QQQ, SH, DIA, IWM, VTI, TZA, TNA, SSO, SDS, PSQ, IWC, IVV, SPXU, UWM, SPLV, UPRO, VOO, QID, MDY, VB, SPXS, PRF, SPXL, DOG, TQQQ, IJR, RSP, DXD, SQQQ, SLY, QLD, PRFZ, MVV, RWJ, RWL, IJH, EPS, VO, SCHB, TWM, URTY, SCHA, SDOW, UDOW, VXF, USMV, DDM, EZM, MIDU, VV, RWM, RWK, IWV, SRTY, SCHX, IWB, ITOT, ONEQ, PDP, UMDD, IWR, OEF, SPHB, IYY, MGC, NY, SAA, SCHM, BXUB, DWAS, QQEW, VTWO, XLG, NYC, MIDZ, MZZ, QQQE, QUAL, DIM, IVOO, JKD, SBB, VONE, EXT, RSCO, CZA, FNX, EQL, JKJ, FVI, SDD, EUSA, ROLA, PZI, FDM, SFLA, TRND, RTLA, XMLV, THRK, XSLV, JKG, BXUC, SMDD, WMCR, MYY, FYX, QQXT, VIOO, TRNM, ONEK, EEH, SPXH, TRSK, IWL, VTHR, EWRS, TWOK, FSE, FSU, PXLC, EWRI, PWO, TOTS, SMLV, BXDB, EWRM, LGLV, UWC, TNDQ, FNDB, FWDD, ALTL, FMK, PXSC, SIZE, PXMC, PIQ, TWQ
Thursday, Oct 312013, 7:08 AM
Thursday, Oct 312013, 7:08 AM| 4 Comments
- Still coming to grips with the slightest hawkish twist to the FOMC statement yesterday afternoon, S&P 500 (SPY) futures are down 0.25% and the Nasdaq 100 (QQQ) is off 0.45%. Facebook soared after a big earnings beat last night, then actually turned red during the earnings call, but is now higher by 3% in the premarket.
- Europe opened to the downside, but is now mostly higher, and Asia was solidly lower overnight.
- Treasury yields have regained some of their composure, the 10-year yield falling 3 basis points to 2.51%, after shooting higher yesterday afternoon post-statement. Gold's off 1% to $1,.335 per ounce.
- ETFs: SPY, QQQ, SH, DIA, IWM, VTI, TZA, TNA, SSO, SDS, PSQ, IWC, IVV, SPXU, SPLV, UWM, UPRO, VOO, QID, MDY, VB, SPXS, PRF, SPXL, DOG, TQQQ, IJR, RSP, DXD, SQQQ, SLY, QLD, PRFZ, MVV, RWJ, RWL, IJH, EPS, VO, SCHB, TWM, URTY, SCHA, SDOW, UDOW, VXF, USMV, DDM, EZM, VV, MIDU, RWM, RWK, IWV, SRTY, SCHX, ITOT, IWB, ONEQ, PDP, IWR, UMDD, OEF, SPHB, IYY, MGC, NY, SAA, SCHM, BXUB, DWAS, QQEW, VTWO, XLG, NYC, MIDZ, MZZ, QUAL, QQQE, DIM, IVOO, JKD, VONE, SBB, EXT, RSCO, CZA, FVI, FNX, JKJ, EQL, EUSA, PZI, SDD, FDM, ROLA, SFLA, RTLA, TRND, XMLV, THRK, XSLV, JKG, BXUC, SMDD, WMCR, MYY, FYX, QQXT, VIOO, EEH, TRNM, ONEK, SPXH, TRSK, IWL, EWRS, VTHR, TWOK, FSE, PXLC, EWRI, FSU, SMLV, BXDB, PWO, TOTS, EWRM, LGLV, TNDQ, UWC, FWDD, ALTL, FMK, FNDB, PXSC, PXMC, SIZE, PIQ, TWQ.
Tuesday, Jul 232013, 12:01 PM"Some volatility is good," write researchers from Ned Davis after studying the results and finding low volatility strategies barely took the edge off big market declines in the mid-70s and mid-80s. Investors in SPLV or USMV who watched those funds underperform the SPY of late hardly need reminding of this. The study did not extend to global variants like EEMV and ACWV. |Tuesday, Jul 232013, 12:01 PM| Comment!
Thursday, Jul 112013, 1:38 PMVolatility investors may have interest in the little-followed CVOL which actually does a pretty good job of tracking the VIX. Unlike VXX - which tracks front-month futures on the VIX, and is destined to head to zero due to contango - CVOL tracks 3rd and 4th month futures and takes a model-dictated short position in the S&P. It's a nice product, but - for now - high expenses, low AUM, wide spreads and minimal volume likely make it "unownable," writes Oliver Ludwig. |Thursday, Jul 112013, 1:38 PM| Comment!
Wednesday, Jul 102013, 9:34 AMThe "fear gauge" is flawed, says Citi's Mike Pringle, and investors risk harm by using the VIX (VXX) as an indicator of market risk. "It's an asset class and it's more traded for yield than protection," he says, noting the growth of structured products based on the VIX as dampening reported volatility. "It's still relevant in extremes, but not in a normal functioning market." |Wednesday, Jul 102013, 9:34 AM| 15 Comments
Saturday, Jun 222013, 8:25 AMThe VIX started showing signs of life this week, a development that historically doesn’t bode well for stocks. The so-called fear index closed above 20 Thursday for the first time this year before pulling back a bit yesterday. The odds of a market rally over a three-, six- and 12-month time horizon are at their lowest when the VIX is 20-25, according to Citigroup data that goes back to 1990. |Saturday, Jun 222013, 8:25 AM| 11 Comments
Thursday, Jun 202013, 4:02 PMBets against higher volatility (and there are a ton of them) get fried, with the VIX up 23% and hitting a new YTD high. The level of shorts in some VIX ETPs is eye-popping, with 273% of the share count of the Ultra VIX Short-Term Futures ETF (UVXY +20.9%) out on loan, reports Ned Davis. Of the unleveraged products, 75% of the Short-Term Futures ETN (VXX +10.4%) is on borrow, and 110% of the S&P Dynamic VIX ETN (VXZ +4.3%). "This is one of those trades that works remarkably well until it doesn't," writes Brendan Conway. Indeed. |Thursday, Jun 202013, 4:02 PM| 9 Comments
Tuesday, May 212013, 3:34 PMMajor hedge funds have suddenly turned bullish, reportedly buying massive amounts of OTC call options on the S&P 500 (SPY). The purchases have been large enough to send the VIX (VXX) higher even as stocks continue to gain. An important milestone - the implied volatility of S&P calls is now greater than that of puts, a true rarity since 2007. |Tuesday, May 212013, 3:34 PM| 19 Comments
Monday, May 202013, 10:47 AM"High Beta" is hot with the PowerShares S&P 500 High Beta Portfolio (SPHB) pulling ahead of the Low Volatility Portfolio (SPLV) YTD after notably underperforming in Q1 and early Q2. Markets make opinions, and Sam Stovall thinks the momentum in high beta is set to continue as yield-starved investors look to capital gains instead of dividends. |Monday, May 202013, 10:47 AM| 1 Comment
Thursday, May 162013, 2:44 PMIt's Japan and then there's everything else. Of the top 2013 gainers in assets among ETFs, the Japan Hedged Equity Fund (DXJ) and MSCI Japan Fund (EWJ) have brought in nearly $12B, about equal to the next 5 combined. If we're talking flows as a percentage of AUM, the rush into Japan funds is even more impressive. The low-volatility sector stands out as well with the USMV garnering $2.5B against a previous base of just $1.1B. |Thursday, May 162013, 2:44 PM| Comment!