Best And Worst Q4'17: Energy ETFs And Mutual Funds

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Includes: FCG, ICBMX, PHO, PUW, PXJ, QCLN, SBMBX, VENAX
by: David Trainer

Summary

The Energy sector ranks last in Q4'17.

Based on an aggregation of ratings of 22 ETFs and 98 mutual funds.

PHO is our top-rated Energy sector ETF and VENAX is our top-rated Energy mutual fund.

The Energy sector ranks last out of the 11 sectors as detailed in our Q4'17 Sector Ratings for ETFs and Mutual Funds report. Last quarter, the Energy sector ranked last as well. It gets our Very Unattractive rating, which is based on an aggregation of ratings of 22 ETFs and 98 mutual funds in the Energy sector. See a recap of our Q3'17 Sector Ratings here.

Figures 1 and 2 show the five best and worst rated ETFs and mutual funds in the sector. Not all Energy sector ETFs and mutual funds are created the same. The number of holdings varies widely (from 25 to 137). This variation creates drastically different investment implications and, therefore, ratings.

Investors should not buy any Energy ETFs or mutual funds because none get an Attractive-or-better rating. If you must have exposure to this sector, you should buy a basket of Attractive-or-better rated stocks and avoid paying undeserved fund fees. Active management has a long history of not paying off.

Our Robo-Analyst technology empowers our unique ETF and mutual fund rating methodology, which leverages our rigorous analysis of each fund’s holdings.[1] We think advisors and investors focused on prudent investment decisions should include analysis of fund holdings in their research process for ETFs and mutual funds.

Figure 1: ETFs with the Best & Worst Ratings – Top 5

* Best ETFs exclude ETFs with TNAs less than $100 million for inadequate liquidity.

Sources: New Constructs, LLC and company filings

The PowerShares Wilder Hill Progressive Energy Portfolio (PUW), PowerShares Dynamic Oil & Gas Services Portfolio (PXJ) and First Trust NASDAQ Clean Edge Green Energy Fund (QCLN) are excluded from Figure 1 because their total net assets are below $100 million and do not meet our liquidity minimums.

Figure 2: Mutual Funds with the Best & Worst Ratings – Top 5

* Best mutual funds exclude funds with TNAs less than $100 million for inadequate liquidity.

Sources: New Constructs, LLC and company filings

The ICON Natural Resources Fund (ICBMX) is excluded from Figure 2 because its total net assets (TNA) are below $100 million and do not meet our liquidity minimums.

The PowerShares Water Resources Portfolio (PHO) is the top-rated Energy ETF and the Vanguard Energy Index Fund (VENAX) is the top-rated Energy mutual fund. PHO earns a Neutral rating and VENAX earns a Very Unattractive rating.

The First Trust Natural Gas ETF (FCG) is the worst rated Energy ETF and the Saratoga Advantage Energy and Basic Materials Portfolio (SBMBX) is the worst rated Energy mutual fund. Both earn a Very Unattractive rating.

167 stocks of the 3000+ we cover are classified as Energy stocks.

The Danger Within

Buying a fund without analyzing its holdings is like buying a stock without analyzing its business and finances. Put another way, research on fund holdings is necessary due diligence because a fund’s performance is only as good as its holdings’ performance. Don’t just take our word for it, see what Barron’s says on this matter.

PERFORMANCE OF HOLDINGs = PERFORMANCE OF FUND

Analyzing each holding within funds is no small task. Our Robo-Analyst technology enables us to perform this diligence with scale and provide the research needed to fulfill the fiduciary duty of care. More of the biggest names in the financial industry (see At BlackRock, Machines Are Rising Over Managers to Pick Stocks) are now embracing technology to leverage machines in the investment research process. Technology may be the only solution to the dual mandate for research: cut costs and fulfill the fiduciary duty of care. Investors, clients, advisors and analysts deserve the latest in technology to get the diligence required to make prudent investment decisions.

Figures 3 and 4 show the rating landscape of all Energy ETFs and mutual funds.

Figure 3: Separating the Best ETFs from the Worst ETFs

Sources: New Constructs, LLC and company filings

Figure 4: Separating the Best Mutual Funds from the Worst Mutual Funds

Sources: New Constructs, LLC and company filings

This article originally published on October 6, 2017.

Disclosure: David Trainer, Kyle Guske II, and Kenneth James receive no compensation to write about any specific stock, sector or theme.

[1] Ernst & Young’s recent white paper “Getting ROIC Right” proves the superiority of our holdings research and analytics.

Disclosure: I/we have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours.

I wrote this article myself, and it expresses my own opinions. I am not receiving compensation for it. I have no business relationship with any company whose stock is mentioned in this article.