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
The market is seeing some of the highest volatility since the pandemic and before that, you have to go back to the taper tantrum, but how should investors respond? While the most obvious answer is to ‘buy the dip’, the question remains where. Investors should look to industries whose fundamentals haven’t shifted in the most recent months or are less susceptible to the ongoing volatility shifts. This value tilt means leaning towards financials and commodities. Moreover, investors should steer clear of those exactly susceptible to current volatility spikes. Technology and emerging markets are easy stay-aways because inflationary pressures are going to hurt growth stocks and supply constraints will bottle up developing economies for the foreseeable future.
Finsum: More advanced hedging strategies should be considered in equity markets given the volatility, but still tilt toward value.
Hedge funds have made it clear they are gonna short those not meeting ESG criteria, but the broader market is still willing to short Tesla because the bottom line means more. Despite all of its sustainability credentials investors are making bets against Tesla. Bill Gates took a big short position apparently, and Tesla CEO Elon Musk chirped back on Twitter, saying it's incompatible with their environmental concerns. All of this happens as Musk secured $44 billion to buy Twitter Inc. This isn't the first time Tesla is no stranger to short-sellers as sharks swarmed the brand for years as they thought they couldn't ramp up production to meet the actual demand. Tesla’s stock skyrocketed nonetheless.
Finsum: Short positions on these public favorites can be extremely risky poisons, there have been lots of strange rallies in the internet era.
Congress continues to look for ways to fund the $1.85 trillion bill that aims to spend on social and climate policy. While they have already considered objectives that would align the U.S. with the G20’s global minimum tax rate, the current bill will also affect wealthier individuals’ retirement vehicles. Congress will put limits on large accounts for individuals or couples with $10 million dollar retirement balances. The newest Build Back Better bill also eliminates the ‘backdoor’ Roth IRA by minimizing rollovers and conversions. The date for the former rule change isn’t until Dec. 31, 2028 but the backdoor loophole is set to close Dec. 31st of this year in the current bill.
FINSUM: Substantial changes to savings and retirement could be coming in the upcoming legislation, and investors should be aware of how these changes could affect their retirement vehicles.
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.
Monetary policy is diverging in emerging markets with some countries keeping policy rates low and others beginning to tighten, and investors are beginning to make a ruling. Countries like Russia, Columbia and South Korea all experienced currency appreciation due to tighter policy, and certain investment classes are being rewarded. Bond markets are signaling a yield curve inversion in Russia, pricing in future rate hikes, but this has been okay for oil exports. While at the other end, Turkey saw its yield curve climb and its currency—the lira—perform poorly in October. There were mixed signals from Brazil, where the fiscal policy signaled lots of public spending. The monetary policy started to tighten to curb inflation, and as a result, markets punished the Brazilian real.
FINSUM: There are diverging schools of thought globally as to how to respond to the combination of the world’s energy crisis and the lingering Covid-19 pandemic.
Calling bond prices stubborn would be an understatement, and the bears have been continuing to pull investors out of the bond market in the mass exodus of outflows. The tides could be starting to shift, and the reasons are on opposite ends of the spectrum. Investing yield curves and recession indicators are flashing, which means investors will flock back to the bond market as a safe asset when equities fall. On the other side of things, if inflation is being driven by supply-side factors more than the Fed thinks, then inflation will fall dramatically, and less tapering will be needed to get there. This means bond prices could rise as yields fail to. Broad bond exposure is still a good idea with volatility rising.
Finsum: It’s been rough in the bond market the last few months, but there are economic reasons that could turn around.
Pick your favorite recession signal and there is a chance it's flashing the warning signs. Most are eyeing the 2-to-10 year yield curve which inverted in early April. Investors worried about the recession should turn to high-yield bonds, but specifically, those ‘sin’ goods are the best remedy for the recession. Alcohol and Tobacco are two of the best performing industries in the 12-months leading to a recession and the years after. Food and beverage, utilities, and healthcare all are great performers as well. The high yield bonds to avoid are telecommunications and retail shopping, as their returns can vary drastically.
Finsum: Junk bond yields are relatively high right now and less sensitive to Fed moves, high yield bonds are a potentially good alternative right now.
President Biden’s 2023 federal budget levy’s a new ultra-wealthy tax that would apply 20% total income tax on those with a net worth of more than $100 million. Notably in the deal, it opens the window to tax unrealized capital gains or any asset growth. The bill is expected to meet a brick wall in congress however as even moderate Dems will have a difficult time supporting it. Biden’s selling point is the expected $360 billion in payments toward the deficit in the next decade. However, the senate proposed a very similar bill last year that was shut down by congress.
Finsum: Taxing unrealized gains is a slippery slope, and hopefully would never trickle down to different wealth classes.
Gold had one of its biggest runs last August, but gold stocks and ETFs have been the real…see the full story on our partner Magnifi’s site
BNY Mellon is one of the biggest asset managers with $2.3 trillion in AUM, and they are expanding their offerings by building model portfolios designed for the UBS Wealth Management USA clients. They will be particularly designed to deliver more reliable results during business cycles and geared toward meeting income-generation goals with clients. The range of portfolios will come in three different income varieties: stable, strategic, and a growth hybrid. They view this as a natural evolution of their business at BNY and they are well suited to deliver models to UBS to meet income goals.
Finsum: More investors are looking for income products and models are rapidly trying to adapt to this demand.