Displaying items by tag: tech
Thanks mainly to a blend of enhanced technology, lower trading costs, and a growing appetite for personalized investment strategies, direct indexing may become a term as common with investors as mutual funds and ETFs. A recent article in USA Today highlights this trend, and when a broadly read news source such as this writes about a subject, it’s usually a clear sign it has begun to resonate with the masses.
So, what is driving this surge in popularity? The answer lies in the convergence of investor preferences and improved platform capabilities. While investors are always keen on the potential for total return, they also seek flexibility, cost efficiency, and favorable tax treatment—benefits that direct indexing is uniquely positioned to provide.
Direct indexing allows investors to tailor their holdings to reflect personal values or strategic preferences, such as ESG considerations or specific sector exposures. Moreover, the tax optimization potential of direct indexing allows for more efficient management of capital gains taxes, a feature particularly attractive to savvy investors looking to maximize their after-tax returns.
As direct indexing becomes more widely adopted by advisors and platforms, we’ll watch with interest to see if this investment approach moves from the domain of the affluent and the institutional to the everyday investor.
Finsum: Direct indexing's spread to lower account balances could make it as popular a product type as mutual funds and ETFs.
According to an analysis by ESG specialist Elisabeth Steyn, U.S. equity funds that are classified as ESG, have on average 29% of their holdings in tech stocks. Steyn told Alice Ross of Financial Times that the figure is well above the 23% average for general equity funds. Ross used the iShares ESG Aware MSCI USA ETF as an example. The fund’s top holdings include Apple, Microsoft, Amazon, Tesla, and Alphabet. This may help explain why many ESG funds are seeing heavy losses this year. Ross attributed the reason to two factors. First, ESG funds are exclusionary. Once certain areas of the market are stripped out, tech is typically over -represented. The second reason is that ESG rating agencies can differ greatly on which companies are sustainable. That reason alone can help explain why the SEC is going after ESG labeling. Ross also noted that ESG funds outside the U.S. are not typically overweight in tech stocks.
Finsum:U.S. ESG funds are heavily overweight in tech stocks due to differing ESG labels and exclusionary factors.
As investors grapple with inflation and economic uncertainty, there is one industry that has been outperforming the market, and that’s cybersecurity. While most technology companies have cautioned investors about slower corporate spending, cybersecurity firms are still seeing massive demand. For instance, CrowdStrike and SentinelOne, both recently increased their forecasts for this year. While cybersecurity has always been important, companies are now even more concerned about system vulnerabilities due to an increase in cyber-attacks amidst the war in Ukraine. In addition, the advent of remote and hybrid working arrangements has also increased the demand for cybersecurity solutions. While companies can trim spending on software items such as CRM, cybersecurity is too important to risk. The minute a company lets up, they are at risk of a ransomware attack. This has resulted in the Global X Cybersecurity ETF (BUG) outperforming the NASDAQ this year.
Finsum:While other software companies are seeing slowing demand, the sheer necessity of cybersecurity has resulted incybersecurity ETFs outperforming the NASDAQ this year.
Analysts at Jefferies are warning investors to avoid small-cap tech stocks due to their high valuations and falling earnings and revenue estimates. In a note, analysts said that their current valuations of 3.4 times sales are not cheap compared to their long-term average of 2.1 times sales. They believe there are “too many nonearners” and then tend to perform poorly when the Fed is hiking interest rates. However, the analysts aren’t telling investors to avoid small-cap stocks altogether, as they like names in the healthcare and consumer-discretionary sectors, which have been outperforming. Analysts stated that valuations in healthcare stocks haven’t jumped as much as their stock performance. Plus, mergers and acquisitions have picked up in the healthcare sector, which the analysts believe could help drive performance. They also believe that discretionary stocks are the cheapest sector in the small-cap range and they tend to outperform when coming out of bear markets.
Finsum:Jeffries analysts are warning investors to steer clear of small-cap tech stocks due to high valuations and falling earnings and revenue estimates.
New York state’s Department of Financial Services (NYDFS) has proposed updates to regulations in the oversight of cybersecurity risks. The proposal would require board approval of cyber policies at banks, insurers, and other financial institutions that meet a certain size threshold laid out by the regulator. Companies would also have to disclose whether their directors have the expertise to oversee security risks or if they rely on outside cyber consultants. The proposal updates New York’s first-of-its-kind cybersecurity rules for financial institutions. Companies that run afoul of the new rules would risk NYDFS fines. The proposal follows similar federal proposals in which the SEC had highlighted board cyber expertise in proposed breach-reporting rules. Both the SEC and NYDFS proposals highlight the fact that increased threats from ransomware are too broad for security experts to oversee on their own. The updated regulations are expected to increase pressure on companies to quickly gauge the business impacts of such events.
Finsum: Following in the SEC’s footsteps, the NYDFS has proposed an update to cybersecurity regulations that would require board approval of cyber policies at financial institutions.