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01 ott 2018

US equity flows - the story behind the story


Continuing our series of blogs on US assets, this week we focus on the incredible inflows into US equity ETFs so far this year. If you missed the first blogs in the series, you’ll find everything you need housed in our new US Equity Spotlight- a detailed paper covering the outlook, active and passive fund performance, flows, index exploration and the ETFs that could be worth considering.

US equities have proven overwhelmingly popular with investors desperate for signs of economic growth. They’ve been the best performers in euro terms since the beginning of the year and their

dominance in terms of ETF flows to August end is little short of astonishing. The trend continued throughout September.

Looking under the hood however, money hasn’t always gone to the best performing exposures. For instance, the NASDAQ 100, Russell 1000 Growth and Russell 2000 benchmarks all outperformed the more favoured S&P 500, so it can clearly pay to be selective. Let’s dig deeper.


The middling mainstream

Many investors tend to default to the S&P 500 for their passive US exposures. Indeed, of the record €11.2bn of YTD inflows into mainstream US indices, 83% went to the S&P. Not necessarily a bad outcome given the +12.8% it has returned over that period.

S&P 500 the clear winner 

Chart 1


But was it the best bet? Perhaps not, given that it didn’t perform nearly as well as some of the other tech or small cap-focused benchmarks. To date, there are few signs of the selectivity investors may need at this stage of the cycle.


Tech the talk of the town

Bolstered by strong balance sheets and general technological improvements, tech stocks have been the story of the year. The tech-heavy NASDAQ 100 has had a great run so far, returning 22.7% as at end of August. Savvy investors cottoned on to this, and it shows in the ETF flows. Though still dwarfed by the €9.3bn that went to the S&P 500, a respectable €1.4bn went to NASDAQ 100 ETFs, peaking in June and July with a combined €913m of inflows.


50% of US sector ETF flows went to tech

chart 2


A bit of style can go a long way

Another pocket of the market that’s fared well is US small caps. The Russell 2000 has returned 17.3% year to date. Again, while flows into US small and mid cap ETFs rebounded in June and July bringing the year to date total to €648m, most of the money missed the mark by defaulting to the S&P.

Small & mid caps gain traction

Chart 3


Dig deeper for greater gains

To be clear, the S&P 500 does a great job at offering simple US equity market exposure in a global equity portfolio. And depending on your investment period, it can certainly pay off. In 2016 for instance, the benchmark finished well ahead of US growth and tech stocks at a time when US economic growth was decelerating.  The benchmark benefited from its wide sector diversification with its most defensive sectors (utilities & telecoms) outperforming. And while small caps – helped by a huge lift in the wake of US elections – outperformed, they were more volatile than the S&P (~18% on average for the Russell 2000 in 2016 vs. ~13% for the S&P 500).

But one thing is certain -  if you want to go that one step further to make the very best of your US exposures, it may be time to think outside the box. Target the sectors most likely to benefit from US policy. Think of downside protection with minimum variance or quality stocks. Downsize to small caps if you feel they have more to offer. With hundreds of ETFs on the market to choose from, and the compelling case for going passive in the US, the possibilities are endless.


Why Lyxor for US equities?

If you still see the US as a land of opportunity, look no further. Our US equity range opens up 11 possible routes to travel, across mainstream and more specific indices from just 0.04%. And, because we’ve been managing ETFs in the region for over 17 years, and with €9bn in assets, we may just be the guide you need.

For the full picture on US equities, read our new US Equity Spotlight

UCITS ETF Total Expense Ratio*
Lyxor S&P 500 0.15%
Lyxor Core Morningstar US  0.04%
Lyxor MSCI USA 0.25%
Lyxor Dow Jones Industrial Average 0.50%
Lyxor NASDAQ 100 0.30%
Lyxor FTSE USA Minimum Variance 0.20%
Lyxor US Quality Low Vol Dividend 0.19%
Lyxor FTSE USA Infrastructure 0.50%
Lyxor FTSE EPRA/NAREIT United States 0.40%
Lyxor S&P 500 Banks 0.20%
Lyxor MSCI USA ESG Trend Leaders 0.25%

Source for all data: Lyxor International Asset Management/Bloomberg, as at 31/08/2018. Data refers to European ETF market. All performance data is based on weekly performances, total return and in EUR. Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future returns.
*TER data correct as at 01/10/2018.

Risk Warning

THIS COMMUNICATION IS FOR ELIGIBLE COUNTERPARTIES OR PROFESSIONAL CLIENTS ONLY

This document is for the exclusive use of investors acting on their own account and categorised either as “Eligible Counterparties” or “Professional Clients” within the meaning of Markets in Financial Instruments Directive 2014/65/EU.These products comply with the UCITS Directive (2009/65/EC). Société Générale and Lyxor International Asset Management (LIAM) recommend that investors read carefully the “investment risks” section of the product’s documentation (prospectus and KIID). The prospectus and KIID are available free of charge on www.lyxoretf.com, and upon request to client-services-etf@lyxor.com.

This document is issued by Lyxor International Asset Management (LIAM), a French management company authorized by the Autorité des marchés financiers and placed under the regulations of the UCITS (2009/65/EC) and AIFM (2011/61/EU) Directives. Société Générale is a French credit institution (bank) authorised by the Autorité de contrôle prudentiel et de résolution (the French Prudential Control Authority).

The products mentioned are the object of market-making contracts, the purpose of which is to ensure the liquidity of the products on the London Stock Exchange, assuming normal market conditions and normally functioning computer systems. Units of a specific UCITS ETF managed by an asset manager and purchased on the secondary market cannot usually be sold directly back to the asset manager itself. Investors must buy and sell units on a secondary market with the assistance of an intermediary (e.g. a stockbroker) and may incur fees for doing so. In addition, investors may pay more than the current net asset value when buying units and may receive less than the current net asset value when selling them. Updated composition of the product’s investment portfolio is available on www.lyxoretf.com. In addition, the indicative net asset value is published on the Reuters and Bloomberg pages of the product, and might also be mentioned on the websites of the stock exchanges where the product is listed.

Prior to investing in the product, investors should seek independent financial, tax, accounting and legal advice. It is each investor’s responsibility to ascertain that it is authorised to subscribe, or invest into this product. This document is of a commercial nature and not of a regulatory nature. This material is of a commercial nature and not a regulatory nature. This document does not constitute an offer, or an invitation to make an offer, from Société Générale, Lyxor Asset Management (together with its affiliates, Lyxor AM) or any of their respective subsidiaries to purchase or sell the product referred to herein.

Lyxor International Asset Management (LIAM), société par actions simplifiée having its registered office at Tours Société Générale, 17 cours Valmy, 92800 Puteaux (France), 418 862 215 RCS Nanterre, is authorized and regulated by the Autorité des Marchés Financiers (AMF) under the UCITS Directive (2009/65/EU) and the AIFM Directive (2011/31/EU). LIAM is represented in the UK by Lyxor Asset Management UK LLP, which is authorized and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority in the UK under Registration Number 435658. Société Générale is a French credit institution (bank) authorised by the Autorité de contrôle prudentiel et de résolution (the French Prudential Control Authority).

Research disclaimer

Lyxor International Asset Management (“LIAM”) or its employees may have or maintain business relationships with companies covered in its research reports. As a result, investors should be aware that LIAM and its employees may have a conflict of interest that could affect the objectivity of this report. Investors should consider this report as only a single factor in making their investment decision. Please see appendix at the end of this report for the analyst(s) certification(s), important disclosures and disclaimers. Alternatively, visit our global research disclosure website www.lyxoretf.com/compliance.

Conflicts of interest 

This research contains the views, opinions and recommendations of Lyxor International Asset Management (“LIAM”) Cross Asset and ETF research analysts and/or strategists. To the extent that this research contains trade ideas based on macro views of economic market conditions or relative value, it may differ from the fundamental Cross Asset and ETF Research opinions and recommendations contained in Cross Asset and ETF Research sector or company research reports and from the views and opinions of other departments of LIAM and its affiliates. Lyxor Cross Asset and ETF research analysts and/or strategists routinely consult with LIAM sales and portfolio management personnel regarding market information including, but not limited to, pricing, spread levels and trading activity of ETFs tracking equity, fixed income and commodity indices. Trading desks may trade, or have traded, as principal on the basis of the research analyst(s) views and reports. Lyxor has mandatory research policies and procedures that are reasonably designed to (i) ensure that purported facts in research reports are based on reliable information and (ii) to prevent improper selective or tiered dissemination of research reports. In addition, research analysts receive compensation based, in part, on the quality and accuracy of their analysis, client feedback, competitive factors and LIAM’s total revenues including revenues from management fees and investment advisory fees and distribution fees.

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