Economics

Consumer Non-Cyclic Separating the Best ETFs from the Worst ETFs

The Consumer Non-cyclicals sector ranks first out of the 11 sectors as detailed in our 1Q18 Sector Ratings for ETFs and Mutual Funds report. Last quarter, the Consumer Non-cyclicals sector, previously named “Consumer Staples” ranked first as well. It gets our Very Attractive rating, which is based on an aggregation of ratings of 12 ETFs and 15 mutual funds in the Consumer Non-cyclicals sector as of January 8, 2018. See a recap of our 4Q17 Sector Ratings here.

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Figures 1 and 2 show the five best and worst rated ETFs and mutual funds in the sector. Not all Consumer Non-cyclicals sector ETFs and mutual funds are created the same. The number of holdings varies widely (from 18 to 111). This variation creates drastically different investment implications and, therefore, ratings.

Investors seeking exposure to the Consumer Non-cyclicals sector should buy one of the Attractive-or-better rated ETFs or mutual funds from Figures 1 and 2.

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

Consumer Non-Cyclicals Sector

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

Sources: New Constructs, LLC and company filings

John Hancock Multifactor Consumer Staples ETF (JHMS) and iShares Edge MSCI Multifactor Consumer Staples ETF (CNSF) are excluded from Figure 1 because their total net assets (TNA) 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

Vanguard Consumer Staples Index Fund (VCSAX), Fidelity Select Automotive Portfolio (FSAVX), and ICON Consumer Staples Fund (ICLEX) are excluded from Figure 2 because their total net assets (TNA) are below $100 million and do not meet our liquidity minimums.

First Trust Consumer Staples AlphaDEX Fund (FXG) is the top-rated Consumer Non-cyclicals ETF and Fidelity Select Consumer Staples Portfolio (FDFAX) is the top-rated Consumer Non-cyclicals mutual fund. FXG earns a Very Attractive rating and FDFAX earns an Attractive rating.

PowerShares S&P SmallCap Consumer Staples Portfolio (PSCC) is the worst rated Consumer Non-cyclicals ETF and ICON Consumer Staples Fund (ICRAX) is the worst rated Consumer Non-cyclicals mutual fund. PSCC earns a Neutral rating and ICRAX earns an Unattractive rating.

140 stocks of the 3000+ we cover are classified as Consumer Non-cyclicals 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 Consumer Non-cyclicals 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 January 8, 2018.

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

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

Article by Pete Apockotos, New Constructs