Point and Figure RS With Micro Caps

November 2, 2016

We have written quite a bit over the years about using point and figure relative strength for stock selection.  One of the whitepapers that discusses the basics of using RS can be found here.  In a lot of the research (including the whitepaper in the link) we use a universe of large capitalization stocks.  There really isn’t a good reason for the use of that universe.  Generally speaking, it is easier to deal with large caps because the information tends to be cleaner, and people are usually more interested in hearing about companies they know and recognize.

Point and figure relative strength works just as well or better on universes of small capitalization stocks.  The small cap universe is incredibly dynamic, and each year there are plenty of big winners and plenty of companies that wind up going out of business.  The dispersion of returns is very high, which is very good for a momentum strategy.  The micro capitalization universe has stocks in it that are even smaller than the small cap universe.  Micro caps are truly the wild, wild west.  The other characteristic with micro caps that make it a good universe for relative strength analysis is there is very little analyst coverage on these companies because they are so small.  That makes it easier to find undiscovered gems than it is in a larger capitalization universes.

To define a micro cap universe, we took the all of the stocks trading on US exchanges at the end of each calendar year and included everything ranked every company by market capitalization.  Stocks ranked from number 2000 through 3500 were included in the universe.  That universe essentially includes the bottom half (in terms of market cap) of the Russell 2000 and then another 500 stocks that don’t even qualify for inclusion in the Russell 2000 Index.  At each month we ranked every stock in the universe by relative strength versus a micro cap benchmark.  If you are unfamiliar with how a point and figure relative strength ranking works you can find an explanation in the paper linked to above.  Stocks were placed into one of four baskets at each month end based on point and figure relative strength chart configuration (signals and columns).  Each month the baskets were refreshed and all of the stocks in each basket were equally weighted.  Equally weighting each stock on a monthly basis would prove to be difficult in actual portfolio management, but we are just trying to get an idea about the power of relative strength in this universe.

microeqmicroret

(Click To Enlarge)

The Universe return listed above is the monthly equal weighted return of all the stocks in the universe.  We have included this because most broad market benchmarks are capitalization weighted and do not get the benefit of getting reweighted each month at no cost.  The returns of the universe are the best apples-to-apples comparison of how the universe was constructed.  The Benchmark return is a blended return of two different indexes: Russell 2000 Total Return and Russell Microcap Total Return.  The data on the Russell Microcap index doesn’t go back to the beginning of our test.  Before the microcap index was available we used the Russell 2000, and then linked that index performance to the microcap index when the data became available.

The stocks on a point and figure buy signal and in a column of X’s are the strongest stocks.  That basket of stocks performs remarkably well with very good volatility characteristics.  One thing that appears to be the case in the microcap universe is that relative strength helps find quality companies.  There are so many microcap companies that are, for lack of a better term, a hot mess.  Quality is extremely important when dealing with such small firms.  Most large cap companies are large because they have multiple products, experienced management teams, and defined processes and controls.  Sure, large cap companies make mistakes and their stock prices can go down quite a bit, but it is nothing like what goes on in the microcap space.  Momentum is very important when looking at very small stocks, and it also helps filter out a lot of the companies with poor quality characteristics.

Momentum works in a number of different markets and across markets.  In a universe of very small companies it is no different.  Using point and figure relative strength as a filter to focus on the strongest stocks in the universe is a great way to increase your odds of success.

Performance data is the result of hypothetical back-testing.  Investors cannot invest directly in an index.  Indexes have no fees.  Back-tested performance results have certain limitations.  Back-testing performance differs from actual performance because it is achieved through retroactive application of an investment methodology designed with the benefit of hindsight.  Back-tested performance do not represent the impact of material economic and market factors might have on an investment advisor’s decision making process if the advisor were actually managing client money. Past performance is not indicative of future results. Potential for profits is accompanied by possibility of loss.  Neither the information nor any opinion expressed shall constitute an offer to sell or a solicitation or an offer to buy any securities, commodities or exchange traded products.  This document does not purport to be complete description of the securities, markets or developments to which reference is made.  Performance is inclusive of dividends, but does not include any transaction costs.

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Weekly RS Recap

October 31, 2016

The table below shows the performance of a universe of mid and large cap U.S. equities, broken down by relative strength decile and quartile and then compared to the universe return.  Those at the top of the ranks are those stocks which have the best intermediate-term relative strength.  Relative strength strategies buy securities that have strong intermediate-term relative strength and hold them as long as they remain strong.

Last week’s performance (10/24/16 – 10/28/16) is as follows:

ranks

This example is presented for illustrative purposes only and does not represent a past or present recommendation.  The relative strength strategy is NOT a guarantee.  There may be times where all investments and strategies are unfavorable and depreciate in value.  The performance above is based on pure price returns, not inclusive of dividends, fees, or other expenses.  Past performance is not indicative of future results.  Potential for profits is accompanied by possibility of loss.

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Weekly RS Recap

October 24, 2016

The table below shows the performance of a universe of mid and large cap U.S. equities, broken down by relative strength decile and quartile and then compared to the universe return.  Those at the top of the ranks are those stocks which have the best intermediate-term relative strength.  Relative strength strategies buy securities that have strong intermediate-term relative strength and hold them as long as they remain strong.

Last week’s performance (10/17/16 – 10/21/16) is as follows:

ranks

This example is presented for illustrative purposes only and does not represent a past or present recommendation.  The relative strength strategy is NOT a guarantee.  There may be times where all investments and strategies are unfavorable and depreciate in value.  The performance above is based on pure price returns, not inclusive of dividends, fees, or other expenses.  Past performance is not indicative of future results.  Potential for profits is accompanied by possibility of loss.

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Relative Strength Spread

October 18, 2016

The chart below is the spread between the relative strength leaders and relative strength laggards (top quartile of stocks in our ranks divided by the bottom quartile of stocks in our ranks; universe of U.S. mid and large cap stocks).  When the chart is rising, relative strength leaders are performing better than relative strength laggards.    As of 10/17/16:

rs-spread

The relative strength strategy is NOT a guarantee.  There may be times where all investments and strategies are unfavorable and depreciate in value.  Past performance is not indicative of future results.  Potential for profits is accompanied by possibility of loss.

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Elkhorn Commodity Rotation Strategy ETF (DWAC)

October 17, 2016

While the majority of investors allocate their dollars primarily between equities and fixed income, there are a number of alternative assets that may add value to the portfolio over time.  Furthermore, the advent of ETFs has made it easy for investors to gain exposure to areas of the financial markets that were previously reserved for the savviest of investors.  One such example is the Commodity asset class.  Today, investors can select from upwards of 140 ETFs and ETPs to introduce commodity exposure into the portfolio, instead of trading futures contracts. One of the newer ETF products to hit the market within this space is the Elkhorn Commodity Rotation Strategy ETF DWAC, which uses the Dorsey Wright methodology to target those commodities with the strongest relative strength characteristics.

One of the main factors which helps enable a relative strength based strategy to generate strong returns is ample performance dispersion among the investable universe.  The most popular commodities discussed by mainstream media are precious metals (gold, silver, platinum) and energy (crude oil), but that only scratches the surface of this asset class as a whole. For example, the “softs” complex (which includes Sugar, Cotton, Cocoa, Orange juice, and Coffee) certainly isn’t making CNBC headlines on a daily basis, but Sugar futures are the top performing commodity on the year and have registered an impressive gain of over 50% in 2016.  On the flip side, agricultural Commodities such as Live Cattle (-20.22%), Wheat (-20.79%) and Lean Hogs (-25.27%) continue to lag and remain in very firm downtrends.  At some point these trends will change, but the dispersion which exists within the asset class remains wide year over year.

Generally speaking there are about 5 different commodity sectors: precious metals, industrial metals, livestock, agriculture, and energy.  One of the most commonly used benchmarks for the asset class is the S&P Goldman Sachs Commodities Index (GSCI).  It was launched in May 2007 and holds approximately 24 different commodities. The index allocations are world production weighted based on the average quantity of production of each commodity.  Currently, the index is allocated as follows:  Energy (70.44%), Industrial Metals (8%), Precious Metals (3.68%), Agriculture (12.78%), and finally Livestock (5.11%).   As a result, energy is the tail that wags the dog in this instance, accounting for more than two-thirds of the index’s performance. This is not unusual to see across many broad based commodity ETFs, making the DWAC quite different from the rest of the pack in terms of the exposure it offers.

The underlying index follows a Dorsey Wright relative strength based strategy to make its allocation decisions. The product also implements the dynamic roll methodology in order to avoid cost of carry issues at futures expiration. The universe for the underlying index includes 21 different commodities, and the index will target the top five on a monthly basis with a 20% weighting in each. The ability to tactically rotate through a broad universe of commodities and concentrate within the top performing sectors while eliminating exposure to the weak sectors is what makes this product both dynamic and unique. As of 9/30/2016, the current allocations in DWAC are as follows: Sugar, Silver, Coffee, Zinc, and Cotton. Additional information regarding historical allocations and other product info can be found on the DWAC factsheet.

DWAC vs. GSCI Equity Curves

1995-2015

Below we have as we plotted the equity curves in order to help compare historical performance of DWAC vs. GSCI.

1

DWAC inception date: Sept 21, 2016, GSCI inception date: May 7, 2007 – data prior to inception is based on a back-test of the underlying indexes.  Please see the disclosures for important information regarding back-testing.  DWAC Returns are calculated on a total return basis.  Past performance is not indicative of future results.  Potential for profits is accompanied by possibility of loss. 

DWAC vs. GSCI Performance

1995-2015

The table below gives a detailed perspective on the historical performance for each index.  Notice that DWAC offers a higher annualized return, and does so with lower annualized volatility.  Additionally, losses have been relatively contained when compared to the benchmark, while periods of outperformance have been instrumental in cumulative performance.

  • Cumulative Returns:  DWAC (+576.80%) vs. GSCI (-18.35%)
  • Annualized Returns:  DWAC (+10.02%) vs. GSCI (-1.01%)
  • Volatility (Annualized):  DWAC (22.23%) vs. GSCI (28.19%)
  • Largest Annual Loss:   DWAC (-20.24% – 1998) vs. GSCI (-46.49% – 2008)
  • Largest Annual Gain:  DWAC (+50.91% – 2006) vs. GSCI (+49.74% – 2000)
  • # Years Outperforming:  DWAC  (12 years) vs. GSCI  (8 years)
  • Total Performance in Outperforming Years:  DWAC (+253.90%) vs. GSCI (+73.11%)2

DWAC inception date: Sept 21, 2016, GSCI inception date: May 7, 2007 – data prior to inception is based on a back-test of the underlying indexes.  Please see the disclosures for important information regarding back-testing.  DWAC returns are calculated on a total return basis.  Returns do not include all potential transaction costs.  Past performance is not indicative of future results.  Potential for profits is accompanied by possibility of loss.

Performance data for the model is the result of hypothetical back-testing.  Performance data for prior to inception date is the result of backtested underlying index data.  Investors cannot invest directly in an index. Indexes have no fees.  Back-tested performance results have certain limitations. Back-testing performance differs from actual performance because it is achieved through retroactive application of an investment methodology designed with the benefit of hindsight. Model performance data as well as back-tested performance do not represent the impact of material economic and market factors might have on an investment advisor’s decision making process if the advisor were actually managing client money. Past performance is not indicative of future results. Potential for profits is accompanied by possibility of loss.

Neither the information nor any opinion expressed shall constitute an offer to sell or a solicitation or an offer to buy any securities, commodities or exchange traded products.  This document does not purport to be complete description of the securities or commodities, markets or developments to which reference is made.  

 

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Weekly RS Recap

October 17, 2016

The table below shows the performance of a universe of mid and large cap U.S. equities, broken down by relative strength decile and quartile and then compared to the universe return.  Those at the top of the ranks are those stocks which have the best intermediate-term relative strength.  Relative strength strategies buy securities that have strong intermediate-term relative strength and hold them as long as they remain strong.

Last week’s performance (10/7/16 – 10/14/16) is as follows:

ranks

This example is presented for illustrative purposes only and does not represent a past or present recommendation.  The relative strength strategy is NOT a guarantee.  There may be times where all investments and strategies are unfavorable and depreciate in value.  The performance above is based on pure price returns, not inclusive of dividends, fees, or other expenses.  Past performance is not indicative of future results.  Potential for profits is accompanied by possibility of loss.

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Q4 2016 PowerShares DWA Momentum ETFs

October 10, 2016

The PowerShares DWA Momentum Indexes are reconstituted on a quarterly basis.  These indexes are designed to evaluate their respective investment universes and build an index of stocks with superior relative strength characteristics.   This quarter’s allocations are shown below.

PDP: PowerShares DWA Momentum ETF

pdp

DWAS: PowerShares DWA Small Cap Momentum ETF

dwas

DWAQ: PowerShares DWA NASDAQ Momentum ETF

dwaq

PIZ: PowerShares DWA Developed Markets Momentum ETF

piz

PIE: PowerShares DWA Emerging Markets Momentum ETF

pie

Source: Dorsey Wright, MSCI, Standard & Poor’s, and NASDAQ, Allocations subject to change

We also apply this momentum-indexing methodology on a sector level:

sector-momentum

See www.powershares.com for more information.  

The relative strength strategy is NOT a guarantee.  There may be times where all investments and strategies are unfavorable and depreciate in value.

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Weekly RS Recap

October 10, 2016

The table below shows the performance of a universe of mid and large cap U.S. equities, broken down by relative strength decile and quartile and then compared to the universe return.  Those at the top of the ranks are those stocks which have the best intermediate-term relative strength.  Relative strength strategies buy securities that have strong intermediate-term relative strength and hold them as long as they remain strong.

Last week’s performance (10/3/16 – 10/7/16) is as follows:

ranks-10-10-16

This example is presented for illustrative purposes only and does not represent a past or present recommendation.  The relative strength strategy is NOT a guarantee.  There may be times where all investments and strategies are unfavorable and depreciate in value.  The performance above is based on pure price returns, not inclusive of dividends, fees, or other expenses.  Past performance is not indicative of future results.  Potential for profits is accompanied by possibility of loss.

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Adapt or Die

October 4, 2016

The Economist recently pointed out just how much change there has been in the characteristics of the companies that make the list of the top ten market cap companies today versus 2006:

James Manyika, of the McKinsey Global Institute, points out that today’s superstar companies are big in different ways from their predecessors. In the old days companies with large revenues and global footprints almost always had lots of assets and employees. Some superstar companies, such as Walmart and Exxon, still do. But digital companies with huge market valuations and market shares typically have few assets. In 1990 the top three carmakers in Detroit between them had nominal revenues of $250 billion, a market capitalisation of $36 billion and 1.2m employees. In 2014 the top three companies in Silicon Valley had revenues of $247 billion and a market capitalisation of over $1 trillion but just 137,000 employees.

economist

Three of the companies that made the list in 2006 continue to make the list today (Exxon Mobil, General Electric, and Microsoft).  Here’s what I find most interesting about those companies that made the list at the end of 2006—their performance since that time has largely been dismal (with the exception of MSFT).

perf_economist

Microsoft was the only one of the ten to have performance that exceeded that of the S&P 500.  Six of the ten have actually had negative total returns since the end of 2006.  Anyone who thinks it is safe to go with the biggest, most well-known companies for their portfolio would have been unpleasantly surprised by the results.

There is wisdom in the old adage The only constant in life is change.  It’s true!  The markets exemplify this reality every day.  It is for this very reason that the relative strength tools you have at your fingertips with the Dorsey Wright Platform are so essential.  They provide a disciplined way to stay with the relatively strong stocks and seek to avoid the relatively weak stocks.

The relative strength strategy is NOT a guarantee.  There may be times where all investments and strategies are unfavorable and depreciate in value.  This example is presented for illustrative purposes only and does not represent a past recommendation.

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September SMA Performance Update

October 1, 2016

Detailed performance of our Systematic Relative Strength Portfolios is shown below.  International, Core, Aggressive, and Balanced added to their margins of outperformance for the year.  We continue to like what we see from a technical perspective with the broad U.S. equity market in a positive trend and above the range of the last couple of years.  We have also seen a strong pick-up in international equity performance—particularly in emerging markets.

sma-perf

To receive the brochure for these portfolios, please e-mail andyh@dorseymm.com or call 626-535-0630.  Click here to see the list of platforms where these separately managed accounts are currently available.

Total account performance shown is total return net of management fees for all Dorsey, Wright & Associates managed accounts, managed for each complete quarter for each objective, regardless of levels of fixed income and cash in each account.  Information is from sources believed to be reliable, but no guarantee is made to its accuracy.  This should not be considered a solicitation to buy or sell any security.  Past performance should not be considered indicative of future results.  The S&P 500 is a stock market index based on the market capitalizations of 500 leading companies publicly traded in the U.S. stock market, as defined by Standard & Poor’s.  The Barclays Aggregate Bond Index is a broad base index, maintained by Barclays Capital, and is used to represent investment grade bonds being traded in the United States.  The 60/40 benchmark is 60% S&P 500 Total Return Index and 40% Barclays Aggregate Bond Index.  The NASDAQ Global ex US Total Return Index is a stock market index that is designed to measure the equity market performance of markets outside of the United States and is maintained by Nasdaq.  The Dow Jones Moderate Portfolio Index is a global asset allocation benchmark.  60% of the benchmark is represented equally with nine Dow Jones equity indexes.  40% of the benchmark is represented with five Barclays Capital fixed income indexes. Each investor should carefully consider the investment objectives, risks and expenses of any Exchange-Traded Fund (“ETF”) prior to investing. Before investing in an ETF investors should obtain and carefully read the relevant prospectus and documents the issuer has filed with the SEC.  ETFs may result in the layering of fees as ETFs impose their own advisory and other fees.  To obtain more complete information about the product the documents are publicly available for free via EDGAR on the SEC website (http://www.sec.gov) There are risks inherent in international investments, which may make such investments unsuitable for certain clients. These include, for example, economic, political, currency exchange, rate fluctuations, and limited availability of information on international securities.

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Systematic Relative Strength Portfolios (SMA/UMA Platforms)

September 28, 2016

Picture1

Our Systematic Relative Strength portfolios are available as separately managed accounts at a large and growing number of firms.

  • Wells Fargo Advisors (Global Macro available on the Masters/DMA Platforms)
  • Morgan Stanley (IMS Platform)
  • TD Ameritrade Institutional
  • UBS Financial Services (Aggressive and Core are available on the MAC Platform)
  • RBC Wealth Management (MAP Platform)
  • Raymond James (Outside Manager Platform)
  • Stifel (Opportunity Platform)
  • Kovack Securities (Growth and Global Macro approved on the UMA Platform)
  • Charles Schwab Institutional (Marketplace Platform)
  • Envestnet UMA
  • Fidelity Institutional
  • Adhesion Wealth

Different Portfolios for Different Objectives: Descriptions of our seven managed accounts strategies are shown below.  All managed accounts use relative strength as the primary investment selection factor.

Aggressive:  This Mid and Large Cap U.S. equity strategy seeks to achieve long-term capital appreciation.  It invests in securities that demonstrate powerful relative strength characteristics and requires that the securities maintain strong relative strength in order to remain in the portfolio.

Core:  This Mid and Large Cap U.S. equity strategy seeks to achieve long-term capital appreciation.  This portfolio invests in securities that demonstrate powerful relative strength characteristics and requires that the securities maintain strong relative strength in order to remain in the portfolio.  This strategy tends to have lower turnover and higher tax efficiency than our Aggressive strategy.

Growth:  This Mid and Large Cap U.S. equity strategy seeks to achieve long-term capital appreciation with some degree of risk mitigation.  This portfolio invests in securities that demonstrate powerful relative strength characteristics and requires that the securities maintain strong relative strength in order to remain in the portfolio.  This portfolio also has an equity exposure overlay that, when activated, allows the account to hold up to 50% cash if necessary.

International: This All-Cap International equity strategy seeks to achieve long-term capital appreciation through a portfolio of international companies in both developed and emerging markets.  This portfolio invests in those securities with powerful relative strength characteristics and requires that the securities maintain strong relative strength in order to remain in the portfolio.  Exposure to international markets is achieved through American Depository Receipts (ADRs).

Global Macro: This global tactical asset allocation strategy seeks to achieve meaningful risk diversification and investment returns.  The strategy invests across multiple asset classes: Domestic Equities (long & inverse), International Equities (long & inverse), Fixed Income, Real Estate, Currencies, and Commodities.  Exposure to each of these areas is achieved through exchange-traded funds (ETFs).

Balanced: This strategy includes equities from our Core strategy (see above) and high-quality U.S. fixed income in approximately a 60% equity / 40% fixed income mix.  This strategy seeks to provide long-term capital appreciation and income with moderate volatility.

Tactical Fixed Income: This strategy seeks to provide current income and strong risk-adjusted fixed income returns.   The strategy invests across multiple sectors of the fixed income market:  U.S. government bonds, investment grade corporate bonds, high yield bonds, Treasury inflation protected securities (TIPS), convertible bonds, and international bonds.  Exposure to each of these areas is achieved through exchange-traded funds (ETFs).

Picture2

To receive fact sheets for any of the strategies above, please e-mail Andy Hyer at andyh@dorseymm.com or call 626-535-0630.  Past performance is no guarantee of future returns.  An investor should carefully review our brochure and consult with their financial advisor before making any investments.

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Weekly RS Recap

September 26, 2016

The table below shows the performance of a universe of mid and large cap U.S. equities, broken down by relative strength decile and then compared to the universe return.  Those at the top of the ranks are those stocks which have the best intermediate-term relative strength.  Relative strength strategies buy securities that have strong intermediate-term relative strength and hold them as long as they remain strong.

Last week’s performance (9/19/16 – 9/23/16) is as follows:

ranks

This example is presented for illustrative purposes only and does not represent a past or present recommendation.  The relative strength strategy is NOT a guarantee.  There may be times where all investments and strategies are unfavorable and depreciate in value.  The performance above is based on pure price returns, not inclusive of dividends, fees, or other expenses.  Past performance is not indicative of future results.  Potential for profits is accompanied by possibility of loss.

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Relative Strength Spread

September 22, 2016

The chart below is the spread between the relative strength leaders and relative strength laggards (top quartile of stocks in our ranks divided by the bottom quartile of stocks in our ranks; universe of U.S. mid and large cap stocks).  When the chart is rising, relative strength leaders are performing better than relative strength laggards.    As of 9/21/16:

spread

The relative strength strategy is NOT a guarantee.  There may be times where all investments and strategies are unfavorable and depreciate in value.  Past performance is not indicative of future results.  Potential for profits is accompanied by possibility of loss.

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Momentum & Value vs. Growth & Value

September 20, 2016

At Dorsey Wright, we believe momentum can be used as a stand-alone investment strategy, however, combining it with other smart beta factors to which momentum is negatively correlated has its advantages.  We have referenced this in previous blog posts, noting that it allows for a portfolio to capture alpha at different periods of the market cycle, which in turn can reduce both drawdowns and volatility.   In this post we would like to discuss the potential benefits of combining momentum with value versus combining growth and value.   Furthermore, we will take a look the correlation of excess returns for each portfolio, and wrap things up by comparing the returns of each.

To begin, let’s take a look at the side by side performance (annual figures) for the products we will be using in our study:  PowerShares DWA Momentum Portfolio PDP, Russell 1000 Growth Index RLG, and the Guggenheim S&P 500 Pure Value ETF RPV.  We can reference this table in comparison to the results we get when combining the smart beta factors we mentioned earlier.  In order to get proper historical data, we used the underlying index (total return) for both RLG and RPV.  For PDP, total return figures were used starting on 3/1/2007.  The table below confirms that when using each of these products as a stand-alone investment product.  As we can see, momentum outperforms all other factors but also at a slightly elevated volatility.   Perhaps the most surprising theme is the underperformance of the growth factor throughout this time frame.

all

PDP inception date: March 1, 2007, RLG inception date: May 22, 2000, RPV inception date:   March 1, 2006 – data prior to inception is based on a back-test of the underlying indexes.   Please see the disclosures for important information regarding back-testing.  PDP returns do not include dividends prior to 3/1/2007.  Returns do not include all potential transaction costs.  Past performance is not indicative of future results.  Potential for profits is accompanied by possibility of loss. 

Next, let’s take a look at the correlation coefficients when comparing the returns of each portfolio.  Below we’ve plotted the returns of each portfolio against each other on a year-to-year basis.   The correlation of excess returns between PDP and RPV came out to be -.50 during this time period, just slightly better then RLG vs. RPV (which registered -.40).   Again, both of these are impressive in terms of negative correlation which hopefully will give us the ability to capture alpha at different areas of the market cycle once we construct our portfolios.   Typcially our goal in doing this is lowering portfolio volatility and reducing max drawdowns when compared to using them as stand alone investments.

pdp-vs-rpv

PDP inception date: March 1, 2007, RLG inception date: May 22, 2000, RPV inception date:   March 1, 2006 – data prior to inception is based on a back-test of the underlying indexes.   Please see the disclosures for important information regarding back-testing.  PDP returns do not include dividend prior to 3/1/2007.  Returns do not include all potential transaction costs.  Past performance is not indicative of future results.  Potential for profits is accompanied by possibility of loss. 

rlg-vs-rpv

PDP inception date: March 1, 2007, RLG inception date: May 22, 2000, RPV inception date:   March 1, 2006 – data prior to inception is based on a back-test of the underlying indexes.   Please see the disclosures for important information regarding back-testing.  PDP returns do not include dividend prior to 3/1/2007.  Returns do not include all potential transaction costs.  Past performance is not indicative of future results.  Potential for profits is accompanied by possibility of loss.  

In conclusion, the portfolios we will construct are going to be based on a static allocation of 70%/30%.  To clarify, both the momentum and growth allocations will remain at 70%, while the value portion will be 30%.  The portfolios are re-balanced annually (although as we mentioned the allocation will remain static).    Looking at the table below, we can see that the momentum/value combination portfolio outperformed has over the growth/value combination.   The returns are nearly double, while volatility remains the same at 22%.   Market participants looking to combine a portion of their value portfolio with another allocation would certainly seem to benefit by using a momentum product vs. a growth product.

summary

PDP inception date: March 1, 2007, RLG inception date: May 22, 2000, RPV inception date:   March 1, 2006 – data prior to inception is based on a back-test of the underlying indexes.   Please see the disclosures for important information regarding back-testing.  PDP returns do not include dividend prior to 3/1/2007.  Returns do not include all potential transaction costs.  Past performance is not indicative of future results.  Potential for profits is accompanied by possibility of loss. 

DWA provides the underlying index for PDP (discussed above) and receives licensing fees from Invesco PowerShares based on assets invested in the Fund.

Some information presented is the result of a strategy back-test.  Back-tests are hypothetical (they do not reflect trading in actual accounts) and are provided for informational purposes to illustrate the effects of the strategy during a specific period.  Back-tested results have certain limitations.  Such results do not represent the impact of material economic and market factors might have on an investment advisor’s decision making process if the advisor were actually managing client money.  Back-testing also differs from actual performance because it is achieved through retroactive application of a model investment methodology designed with the benefit of hindsight.  

Neither the information within this email, nor any opinion expressed shall constitute an offer to sell or a solicitation or an offer to buy any securities, commodities or exchange traded products.  This article does not purport to be complete description of the securities or commodities, markets or developments to which reference is made. 

The relative strength strategy is NOT a guarantee.  There may be times where all investments and strategies are unfavorable and depreciate in value.  Relative Strength is a measure of price momentum based on historical price activity.  Relative Strength is not predictive and there is no assurance that forecasts based on relative strength can be relied upon.

 

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Small Caps On the Move

September 19, 2016

One of the simplest ways to determine the relative strength of small caps versus large caps is to use the SmartChart function to divide IWM (or another small cap ETF or index) by SPX.  As shown below, large caps generally had the better relative strength in 2014 and 2015, as reflected by the declining RS chart, but it has been a different story in 2016.  We have seen a series of higher highs and higher lows on the relative strength chart in 2016 as small cap indexes like the Russell 2000 have generally performed better than large caps.

iwm-vs-spx

Small cap momentum, however, had a slow start in the first half of the year, generally underperforming cap weighted small cap indexes like the Russell 2000.  However, it looks like that may be changing.  Our PowerShares DWA Small Cap Momentum ETF (DWAS) has pulled ahead of IWM so far in Q3 and both DWAS and IWM are well ahead of the S&P 500 for the quarter as shown in the table below.

qtd_dwas_iwm_spx

Source: Dorsey Wright.  *7/1/16 – 9/8/16.  Price return only, not inclusive of dividends or transaction costs.

A quick review of the index construction process for The PowerShares DWA Small Cap Momentum ETF (DWAS):

  • Holds 200 stocks out of a universe of approximately 2,000 small cap stocks
  • Stocks are selected for this index based on PnF relative strength characteristics
  • The index is weighted by relative strength so that out of the 200 stocks that make it into the index, those with the better relative strength get the most weight
  • Rebalanced quarterly to remove any stocks that have lost sufficient relative strength and to replace them with stronger stocks

Among the things that we can control in this index construction process is to make sure that the process remains the same from one quarter to the next.  All 200 stocks meet the necessary relative strength requirements to go into the index when it is rebalanced.  Each quarter we see that some of those holdings continue to perform well and some of them don’t.  Shown below is the quarter to date performance for the 200 holdings in DWAS so far in Q3.

dispersion_dwas

Source: Dorsey Wright. *7/1/16 – 9/8/16.  Price return only, not inclusive of dividends or transaction costs.

The best performing holding is +162% and the worst performing holding is -34% so far this quarter.  As is true each quarter, those stocks that maintain favorable relative strength will stay in the index and those that have sufficiently deteriorated will get replaced.

With U.S. equities ranked number 1 in DALI and with small caps showing improving relative strength, this may be an area that deserves some consideration.

Dorsey Wright is the index provider for a suite of momentum ETFs, including DWAS, at PowerShares.  See www.powershares.com for more information.  The relative strength strategy is NOT a guarantee.  There may be times where all investments and strategies are unfavorable and depreciate in value.

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Hedgeweek: Using Momentum to Invest in ADRs

September 13, 2016

Great new article by John Lewis in Hedgeweek:

American Depositary Receipts are an effective way for US investors to gain exposure to international stocks. Dorsey, Wright & Associates’ John Lewis explains how using a momentum strategy can prove effective in building the right exposure to this instrument class.

Read the full article here.

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Weekly RS Recap

September 12, 2016

The table below shows the performance of a universe of mid and large cap U.S. equities, broken down by relative strength decile and quartile and then compared to the universe return.  Those at the top of the ranks are those stocks which have the best intermediate-term relative strength.  Relative strength strategies buy securities that have strong intermediate-term relative strength and hold them as long as they remain strong.

Last week’s performance (9/6/16 – 9/9/16) is as follows:

ranks

This example is presented for illustrative purposes only and does not represent a past or present recommendation.  The relative strength strategy is NOT a guarantee.  There may be times where all investments and strategies are unfavorable and depreciate in value.  The performance above is based on pure price returns, not inclusive of dividends, fees, or other expenses.  Past performance is not indicative of future results.  Potential for profits is accompanied by possibility of loss.

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It’s All At The Upper End

September 7, 2016

Almost all of the performance from a relative strength or momentum model comes from the upper end of the ranks.  We run different models all the time to test different theories or to see how existing decision rules work on different groups of securities.  Sometimes we are surprised by the results, sometimes we aren’t.  But the more we run these tests, the more some clear patterns emerge.

One of these patterns we see constantly is all of the outperformance in a strategy coming from the very top of the ranks.  People are often surprised at how quickly any performance advantage disappears as you move down the ranking scale.  That is one of the things that makes implementing a relative strength strategy so difficult.  You have to be absolutely relentless in pushing the portfolio toward the strength because there is often zero outperformance in aggregate from the stuff that isn’t at the top of the ranks.  If you are the type of person that would rather “wait for a bounce” or “wait until I’m back to breakeven,” then you might as well just equal-weight the universe and call it a day.

Below is a chart from a sector rotation model I was looking at recently.  This model uses the S&P 500 GICS sub-sectors and the ranks were done using a point & figure matrix (ie, running each sub-sector against every other sub-sector) and the portfolio was rebalanced monthly.  You can see the top quintile (ranks 80-100) performs quite well.  After that, good luck.  They are all clustered together well below the top quintile.

matrix ranks

This is a constant theme we see.  The very best sectors, stocks, markets, and so on drive almost all of the outperformance.  If you miss a few of the best ones it is very difficult to outperform.  If you are unwilling to constantly cut the losers and buy the winners because of some emotional hangup, it is extremely difficult to outperform.  The basket of securities in a momentum strategy that delivers the outperformance is often smaller than you think, so it is crucial to keep the portfolio focused on the top-ranked securities.

The returns used within this article are the result of a back-test using indexes that are not available for direct investment.  Returns do include dividends, but do not include transaction costs.  Back-tested performance is hypothetical (it does not reflect trading in actual accounts) and is provided for informational purposes to illustrate the effects of the discussed strategy during a specific period.  Back-tested performance results have certain limitations.  Such results do not represent the impact of material economic and market factors might have on an investment advisor’s decision making process if the advisor were actually managing client money.  Back-testing performance also differs from actual performance because it is achieved through retroactive application of a model investment methodology designed with the benefit of hindsight.  Dorsey, Wright & Associates believes the data used in the testing to be from credible, reliable sources, however; Dorsey, Wright & Associates, LLC (collectively with its affiliates and parent company, “DWA”) makes no representation or warranties of any kind as to the accuracy of such data. Past performance is not indicative of future results.  Potential for profits is accompanied by possibility of loss.

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Dividend-Paying Stocks: Getting a Broader Picture

September 1, 2016

Among the biggest investor-driven trends in the market right now is the thirst for yield.  The paltry yields available in most sectors of fixed income just are not providing the type of income that investors are looking for and so they are increasingly looking at earning that yield from dividend-paying stocks.  However, an exclusive focus on yield provides an incomplete picture of the returns that an investor may achieve.  There is also the performance of the stock itself that must be factored into the evaluation.

When we rank our universe of securities to construct the First Trust Dorsey Wright Dividend UITs, our relative strength ranks are determined by the total return of the stocks (price return + yield).  For comparison’s sake, consider the construction methodology of the S&P Dividend SPDR (SDY) which is based upon the S&P High Yield Dividend Aristocrats Index.  That index is designed to measure the performance of the highest dividend yielding S&P Composite 1500  Index constituents that have followed a managed-dividends policy of consistently increasing dividends every year for at least 20 consecutive years.

In the table below, I show the top 10 holdings for both SDY and for the First Trust Dorsey Wright Relative Strength Dividend UIT, Series 22.  While the top 10 holdings for SDY have a slightly higher yield, the top 10 holdings of the Dorsey Wright UIT have had better total returns over the past 12 months.

uit_sdy

*DWA Top 10 is the top 10 holdings in the First Trust Dorsey Wright Relative Strength Dividend Top 50 UIT, Series 22.  Performance 8/24/15 – 8/24/16.  Source: Yahoo! Finance.  Returns are inclusive of dividends, but do not include any transaction costs.

Evaluating dividend-paying stocks from a total return perspective seems to be fairly uncommon, yet it can make a significant difference in performance for the client while still allowing them to seek above-market yields.

Past performance is not indicative of future results.  Potential for profits is accompanied by possibility of loss.  See http://www.ftportfolios.com for more information.

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AdvisorShares Dorsey Wright ADR ETF (AADR)

August 30, 2016

advisorshares

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Dorsey, Wright & Associates, a Nasdaq Company, Named Sub-Advisor of AdvisorShares Actively Managed International ADR ETF (AADR)

BETHESDA, Md. — August 30, 2016 – AdvisorShares, a leading sponsor of actively managed exchange-traded funds (ETFs), announced today that Dorsey, Wright & Associates (DWA), a Nasdaq Company, will assume sub-advisor responsibilities of the AdvisorShares WCM/BNY Mellon Focused Growth ADR ETF (NYSE Arca: AADR) on September 1, 2016. On that date, the fund will be subsequently renamed the AdvisorShares Dorsey Wright ADR ETF, and will retain the AADR ticker symbol.

John G. Lewis, CMT, senior vice president and senior portfolio manager of DWA will serve as the lead portfolio manager of AADR. BNY Mellon, the world’s largest depositary for American Depositary Receipts (ADRs) will continue to provide their expertise to the portfolio management and to all other market intermediaries. In pursuing its investment strategy, DWA will continue AADR’s investment objective that seeks long-term capital appreciation above international benchmarks including its primary benchmark, the BNY Mellon Classic ADR Index, as well the MSCI EAFE Index, which is the active ETF’s secondary benchmark.

AADR’s investment focus will follow the portfolio manager’s core philosophy of relative strength investing, which involves buying securities – domestically traded ADRs – that have appreciated in price more than other securities within its investment universe and holding those ADRs until they sufficiently underperform. In doing so, DWA employs their proprietary macroeconomic sector ranking and individual stock rotation methodology. AADR’s systematic investment process refrains from using fundamental company data and is based entirely on the market movement of international companies, which measures current sector and industry group allocation to order to keep a diversified underlying portfolio. While no consideration is given to developed and emerging markets, AADR will allocate between the two depending on global price trends. The portfolio manager ultimately constructs a concentrated portfolio of 30-50 equities that demonstrate favorable relative strength characteristics.

“Dorsey, Wright and Associate’s well-established expertise and track record of industry-leading technical investing is evident, particularly in their international equity approach that will be employed in AADR,” said Noah Hamman chief executive officer of AdvisorShares. “We believe the transition from one accomplished portfolio manager to another will benefit both current and prospective AADR shareholders, providing an offering that will continue to seek both better relative and risk-adjusted returns than its international benchmarks within a fully transparent and operationally efficient ETF structure.”

“Financial advisors continue to gravitate towards the innovation and flexibility that ETFs provide,” added Tom Dorsey, founder of DWA. “We are excited to partner with AdvisorShares on AADR as our latest ETF offering. And in particular, we look forward to be part of this next evolutionary phase for the marketplace, where we are able to package our active portfolio management within a fully transparent ETF structure.”

“Our technical investment process employed in AADR reflects our relative strength philosophy,” said Mr. Lewis. “We utilize a proprietary approach that is entirely systematic and seeks to remove any human emotion from the decision process, which helps allow us to execute our established investment process through all types of market environments. We believe that our international equity approach has long-provided an investment solution to our clients and we now look forward to delivering that same expertise through AADR and the structural benefits of an actively managed ETF.”

On Wednesday, August 31st at 2:00 pm EDT, Mr. Lewis will hold an investor conference call to provide an overview of AADR’s investment strategy—Dial-In: 800-356-8278; Code: 176071. For financial professionals and investors requesting more information, please visit www.advisorshares.com or call an AdvisorShares investment consultant at 1-877-THE-ETF1 (1-877-843-3831).

About AdvisorShares

A leading provider in the actively managed ETF marketplace, AdvisorShares offers 22 active ETFs with $1.2 billion of assets under management (as of August 26, 2016). Visit www.advisorshares.com to register for free weekly economic commentary. For educational insight into the active ETF marketplace, visit www.alphabaskets.com, follow @AdvisorShares on Twitter, and on Facebook.

About Dorsey, Wright & Associates, LLC (DWA), a Nasdaq Company

Dorsey, Wright & Associates (DWA), a Nasdaq Company, is a registered investment advisory firm based in Richmond, Virginia. Dorsey Wright was acquired by Nasdaq (Nasdaq: NDAQ) last year and the combined group represents one of the largest providers of smart beta indexes with nearly $49 billion in assets under management. DWA and Nasdaq develop innovative products across myriad asset classes and help create more opportunities for financial advisors. Since 1987, DWA has been an advisor to financial professionals on Wall Street and investment managers worldwide. The company offers comprehensive investment research and analysis through their Global Technical Research Platform and provides research, modeling and indexes which apply DWA’s expertise in Relative Strength to various financial products including exchange trade funds, mutual funds, UITs, structured products, and separately managed accounts.

Before investing you should carefully consider the Fund’s investment objectives, risks, charges and expenses. This and other information is in the prospectus, a copy of which may be obtained by visiting the Fund’s website at www.AdvisorShares.com. Please read the prospectus carefully before you invest.

Foreside Fund Services, LLC, distributor.

There is no guarantee that the Fund will achieve its investment objective. An investment in the Fund is subject to risk, including the possible loss of principal amount invested. Emerging Markets, which consist of countries or markets with low to middle income economics can be subject to greater social, economic, regulatory and political uncertainties and can be extremely volatile. Other Fund risks include concentration risk, foreign securities and currency risk, ADRs which may be less liquid, large-cap risk, early closing risk, counterparty risk and trading risk, which can increase Fund expenses and may decrease Fund performance. The Fund is, also, subject to the same risks associated with the underlying ETFs, which can result in higher volatility. This Fund may not be suitable for all investors. See prospectus for detail regarding risk.

Shares are bought and sold at market price (closing price) not net asset value (NAV) and are not individually redeemed from the Fund. Market price returns are based on the midpoint of the bid/ask spread at 4:00 pm Eastern Time (when NAV is normally determined) and do not represent the return you would receive if you traded at other times.

Press Contact:

Ryan Graham

AdvisorShares

202-684-6442

rg@advisorshares.com

 

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Dull Market? Not in Small Caps

August 23, 2016

When investors sit down with their financial advisor to construct an asset allocation, international equities are typically one of the major asset classes considered for a meaningful portion of the allocation.  When it comes to determining how you are going to get that international equity exposure, there are no shortage of options.  Among the most popular is to simply invest in a cap-weighted index fund like the iShares MSCI EAFE (EFA).  However, as shown below EFA hasn’t made a whole lot of progress over the past year.  Keep in mind that the MSCI EAFE, like all cap-weighted indexes, are driven by the mega-cap stocks in the index.  In environments when the large and mega caps are doing well, an index such as this may be a great choice.

efa

8/17/15-8/17/16

However, investors may wish to see if there are better returns in some of the mid or smaller cap international companies.  To get a sense of where the best returns in international equities have come over the past year, we ran a query of ADRs from FactSet that trade at least $1MM USD per day on average.  That gave us a list of 269 stocks with a market cap ranging from $261,353 MM to $362 MM.  This is the USD market cap for the Underlying (or the Primary Security).  All of the primary securities trade on foreign exchanges so the Market Cap numbers have all been brought back to USD so everything is apples to apples.  I then broke the group of ADRs into thirds by market cap and looked at the trailing 12 month returns of the stocks.  In the table below you will see the average, median, minimum, and maximum return for stocks in each of those thirds.

trailing 12

Source: FactSet.  8/17/15-8/17/16.  Returns are inclusive of dividends, but do not include transaction costs.

Where has the action been over the past year?  Clearly, the best returns have come from the smaller companies.  A cap-weighted international equity benchmark isn’t going to do a whole lot for you there.

When advisors ask why it is that our Systematic RS International portfolio has done as well as it has, part of the answer is that we can invest in small, mid, and large cap ADRs.  Some quick facts on our Systematic RS International portfolio:

  • Inception 3/31/2006.
  • Reached a 10-year track record in March of this year.
  • Can invest in small, mid, and large cap ADRs from both developed and emerging international markets
  • Holds 30-40 ADRs.
  • Buys securities out of the top quartile of our ranks and sells them when they fall out of the top half of our ranks
  • Allocations are determined by relative strength
  • Available on over 15 SMA platforms, including Stifel, RBC, and Raymond James.

See below for the performance of the strategy over time:

intl 1

intl 2

As of 7/31/16

This portfolio is available as a separately managed account and a unified managed account at a number of firms.  To receive the fact sheet for this portfolio, please e-mail andyh@dorseymm.com or call 626-535-0630.

1The performance represented in this brochure is based on monthly performance of the Systematic Relative Strength International Model.  Net performance shown is total return net of management fees, commissions, and expenses for all Dorsey, Wright & Associates managed accounts, managed for each complete quarter for each objective, regardless of levels of fixed income and cash in each account.  The advisory fees are described in Part 2A of the adviser’s Form ADV.  The starting values on 3/31/2006 are assigned an arbitrary value of 100 and statement portfolios are revalued on a trade date basis on the last day of each quarter.  All returns since inception of actual Accounts are compared against the NASDAQ Global ex US Index.  The NASDAQ Global ex US Index Total Return Index is a stock market index that is designed to measure the equity market performance of global markets outside of the United States and is maintained by Nasdaq.  The performance information is based on data supplied by the Manager or from statistical services, reports, or other sources which the Manager believes are reliable.  There are risks inherent in international investments, which may make such investments unsuitable for certain clients. These include, for example, economic, political, currency exchange, rate fluctuations, and limited availability of information on international securities.  Past performance does not guarantee future results. In all securities trading, there is a potential for loss as well as profit. It should not be assumed that recommendations made in the future will be profitable or will equal the performance as shown. Investors should have long-term financial objectives when working with Dorsey, Wright & Associates.

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Weekly RS Recap

August 22, 2016

The table below shows the performance of a universe of mid and large cap U.S. equities, broken down by relative strength decile and quartile and then compared to the universe return.  Those at the top of the ranks are those stocks which have the best intermediate-term relative strength.  Relative strength strategies buy securities that have strong intermediate-term relative strength and hold them as long as they remain strong.

Last week’s performance (8/15/16 – 8/19/16) is as follows:

ranks

This example is presented for illustrative purposes only and does not represent a past or present recommendation.  The relative strength strategy is NOT a guarantee.  There may be times where all investments and strategies are unfavorable and depreciate in value.  The performance above is based on pure price returns, not inclusive of dividends, fees, or other expenses.  Past performance is not indicative of future results.  Potential for profits is accompanied by possibility of loss.

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High RS Diffusion Index

August 17, 2016

The chart below measures the percentage of high relative strength stocks (top quartile of our ranks) that are trading above their 50-day moving average (universe of mid and large cap stocks.)  As of 8/16/16.

diffusion

The 10-day moving average of this indicator is 78% and the one-day reading is 67%.

The relative strength strategy is NOT a guarantee.  There may be times where all investments and strategies are unfavorable and depreciate in value.  Investors cannot invest directly in an index.  Indexes have no fees.  Past performance is no guarantee of future returns.  Potential for profits is accompanied by possibility of loss.

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Relative Strength Spread

August 16, 2016

The chart below is the spread between the relative strength leaders and relative strength laggards (top quartile of stocks in our ranks divided by the bottom quartile of stocks in our ranks; universe of U.S. mid and large cap stocks).  When the chart is rising, relative strength leaders are performing better than relative strength laggards.    As of 8/15/16:

spread

The relative strength strategy is NOT a guarantee.  There may be times where all investments and strategies are unfavorable and depreciate in value.  Past performance is not indicative of future results.  Potential for profits is accompanied by possibility of loss.

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Replay of Webinar on Systematic RS Portfolios

August 8, 2016

Click here for a replay of the August 8th webinar on our Systematic RS Portfolios with Andy Hyer.

Total account performance shown is total return net of management fees for all Dorsey, Wright & Associates managed accounts, managed for each complete quarter for each objective, regardless of levels of fixed income and cash in each account.  Information is from sources believed to be reliable, but no guarantee is made to its accuracy.  This should not be considered a solicitation to buy or sell any security.  Past performance should not be considered indicative of future results.  The S&P 500 is a stock market index based on the market capitalizations of 500 leading companies publicly traded in the U.S. stock market, as defined by Standard & Poor’s.  The Barclays Aggregate Bond Index is a broad base index, maintained by Barclays Capital, and is used to represent investment grade bonds being traded in the United States.  The 60/40 benchmark is 60% S&P 500 Total Return Index and 40% Barclays Aggregate Bond Index.  The NASDAQ Global ex US Total Return Index is a stock market index that is designed to measure the equity market performance of markets outside of the United States and is maintained by Nasdaq.  The Dow Jones Moderate Portfolio Index is a global asset allocation benchmark.  60% of the benchmark is represented equally with nine Dow Jones equity indexes.  40% of the benchmark is represented with five Barclays Capital fixed income indexes.  Each investor should carefully consider the investment objectives, risks and expenses of any Exchange-Traded Fund (“ETF”) prior to investing. Before investing in an ETF investors should obtain and carefully read the relevant prospectus and documents the issuer has filed with the SEC.  ETFs may result in the layering of fees as ETFs impose their own advisory and other fees.  To obtain more complete information about the product the documents are publicly available for free via EDGAR on the SEC website (http://www.sec.gov).  There are risks inherent in international investments, which may make such investments unsuitable for certain clients. These include, for example, economic, political, currency exchange, rate fluctuations, and limited availability of information on international securities.

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