In the face of record inflation, the Virtus Real Assets Income ETF (VRAI) has done extraordinarily well, up 19% year-to-date, and significantly beating the S&P 500, which is up 14%. On top of this, the ETF generates compelling income of 3%, well above the 10 Year US Treasuries at 1.5%.
Investing in real assets is a winning strategy in an inflationary environment because tangible assets such as real estate, natural resources and infrastructure have intrinsic value. VRAI is the first ETF focused on real assets. Additionally, because of VRAI’s focus on income-generating real assets, VRAI also generates attractive income.
In terms of ETF construction, VRAI is designed to be one-stop solution for real asset exposure. VRAI consists of 90 US-traded companies, equally divided between real assets, natural resources, and infrastructure. Companies are filtered based upon market capitalization and selected based upon dividend yield. All stocks are equally weighted to ensure portfolio diversification.
Finally, in terms of costs, VRAI is very competitively priced at 55 bps (0.55%). This stands stark contrast to most energy and real estate ETFs and mutual funds, which typically cost over 100 bps (or 1%).
For more information on the investment case, check out this research piece produced by Virtus
n.b. This is sponsored content and not FINSUM editorial
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Because of how the polls are trending, very few seem to be thinking about the fact that a Republican sweep of all three chambers of the government could happen. When you step away from the polls and think about the fact that Republicans currently control two of the three chambers, it becomes more realistic; and even more so when you consider that polls are likely skewed towards Democrats because of “silent” Republican supporters. If the Republicans sweep, or even just if Trump wins, then the sectors that will surge are energy, banks, healthcare, and defense. In particular, think names like Marathon Petroleum, Bank of America, Pfizer, and Northrop Grumman.
FINSUM: This may be unlikely, but it is not as wildly unrealistic as some make it sound. Perhaps smart to have a portion of the portfolio in these sectors headed into the election?
The European Stockxx 600 was up .5% on Friday driven by earning releases in the banking sector. That trend followed around the globe as Asia-Pacific’s Taiex index boosted 2% and Wallstreet’s S&P was up 2%. It was strong financial earnings in U.S., and semiconductors in the East pushing the Taiex. All of this happens as inflations concerns continue in the U.S. as consumer prices rose 5.4% on the year, but the Euro areas are seeing the opposite results as monthly inflation was negative in France. The common price thread is definitely in energy prices as Brent crude hit $84.40 a barrel.
FINSUM: The trickling earning reports have generally exceeded expectations. That trend looks to continue, and global portfolios are not only diverse but are outperforming.
(Rio de Janeiro)
The international monetary fund cut its growth projections globally this week. The advanced economies are still expected to keep pace, but the low-income developing countries are lagging. Many low-income countries are lagging in vaccine coverage and their exports are suffering because of this. These exports slowing led the IMF to cut the growth projection for Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam from 4.3% to 2.9%. There is a slight trickle into larger economies as worker shortages have hurt American companies such as Nike. China remained robust to most of the slashes as its 2021 projection only dropped from 8.1% to 8.0%.
FINSUM: Don’t look for these growth projections to bear out in emerging markets if vaccine rates tick up. However, Fed tightening could slow growth in dollar-dependent countries.
The market took a nosedive in the middle of the day today as investors were walloped with a hot CPI inflation reading. The CPI rose an eye-popping 5.4% in June, with core inflation coming in at 4.5%. The market was anticipating a flat 5.0% CPI number. Indexes turned downward immediately following the report. It should be noted than June 2020 was the nadir of the pandemic inflation readings, so that makes this report look even bigger.
FINSUM: The inflation boogeyman returns. Beware a big sell-off across the board in bonds, especially if the Fed or a member of the Fed makes any tightening comments.
The overall bond market is almost a bust this year but investors flocking for a yield can only go to one place, junk bonds. Lending conditions are very loose with all the accommodations both fiscal and monetary policy made this year, and those attempting to stream any income have to learn to high-yield debt. Inflation is eating up anything to be gained in treasuries. Investors are now treating high yield debt like a more liquid asset than ever purely because traditional bonds are losing to inflation. All of the policy measures have made many feel corporate debt is less risky than ever but the excess demand may be tipping, as even some of the riskiest debt is being sought after. Still high nominal economic growth is good for borrowers and reduces to investors.
FINSUM: Investors should be aware of interest rates pass-through from Fed tightening to corporate debt, strong inflation could lead to weaker pass through and even lower spreads than the market is already seeing.
The DOL took a very important and surprising step today. Many advisors and the industry more generally has been calling for the DOL to delay their implementation of the Fiduciary Rule, and somewhat amazingly, that is exactly what the agency just did. Referring specifically to the rule that was passed in the final few weeks of the Trump administration, the DOL is delaying implementation until the end of January 2022. Further, it will not enforce several parts of the rule, including the rollover aspect, until June 2022.
FINSUM: So the month extension isn’t that big, but will give some firms more time to get their matters in order. The bigger question is when the new Biden era DOL rule be implemented.
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