Materials Sector 4Q17: Best and Worst

The Materials sector ranks sixth out of the 11 sectors as detailed in our 4Q17 Sector Ratings for ETFs and Mutual Funds report. Last quarter, the Materials sector ranked seventh. It gets our Neutral rating, which is based on an aggregation of ratings of 10 ETFs and six mutual funds in the Materials sector as of October 10, 2017. See a recap of our 3Q17 Sector Ratings here.

Figure 1 ranks from best to worst all ten Materials ETFs and Figure 2 ranks from best to worst all six Materials mutual funds. Not all Materials sector ETFs and mutual funds are created the same. The number of holdings varies widely (from 25 to 122). This variation creates drastically different investment implications and, therefore, ratings.

Investors seeking exposure to the Materials sector should buy one of the Attractive-or-better rated ETFs or mutual funds from Figures 1 and 2.

Our Robo-Analyst technology empowers our unique ETF and mutual fund rating methodology, which leverages our rigorous analysis of each fund’s holdings[1]. We think advisors and investors focused on prudent investment decisions should include analysis of fund holdings in their research process for ETFs and mutual funds.

Figure 1: ETFs with the Best & Worst Ratings – Top 5

* Best ETFs exclude ETFs with TNAs less than $100 million for inadequate liquidity.

Sources: New Constructs, LLC and company filings

Figure 2: Mutual Funds with the Best & Worst Ratings – Top 5

* Best mutual funds exclude funds with TNAs less than $100 million for inadequate liquidity.

Sources: New Constructs, LLC and company filings

iShares US Basic Materials ETF (IYM) is the top-rated Materials ETF and Vanguard Materials Index Fund (VMIAX) is the top-rated Materials mutual fund. IYM earns an Attractive Rating and VMIAX earns a Neutral rating.

PowerShares DWA Basic Materials Momentum Portfolio (PYZ) is the worst rated Materials ETF and Fidelity Advisor Materials Fund (FMFAX) is the worst rated Materials mutual fund. Both funds earn an Unattractive rating.

157 stocks of the 3000+ we cover are classified as Materials stocks.

The Danger Within

Buying a fund without analyzing its holdings is like buying a stock without analyzing its business and finances. Put another way, research on fund holdings is necessary due diligence because a fund’s performance is only as good as its holdings’ performance. Don’t just take our word for it, see what Barron’s says on this matter.

PERFORMANCE OF HOLDINGs = PERFORMANCE OF FUND

Analyzing each holding within funds is no small task. Our Robo-Analyst technology enables us to perform this diligence with scale and provide the research needed to fulfill the fiduciary duty of care. More of the biggest names in the financial industry (see At BlackRock, Machines Are Rising Over Managers to Pick Stocks) are now embracing technology to leverage machines in the investment research process. Technology may be the only solution to the dual mandate for research: cut costs and fulfill the fiduciary duty of care. Investors, clients, advisors and analysts deserve the latest in technology to get the diligence required to make prudent investment decisions.

Figures 3 and 4 show the rating landscape of all Materials ETFs and mutual funds.

Figure 3: Separating the Best ETFs from the Worst ETFs

Sources: New Constructs, LLC and company filings

Figure 4: Separating the Best Mutual Funds from the Worst Mutual Funds

Sources: New Constructs, LLC and company filings

This article originally published on October 10, 2017.

Disclosure: David Trainer, Kyle Guske II and Kenneth James receive no compensation to write about any specific stock, sector or theme.

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[1] Ernst & Young’s recent white paper “Getting ROIC Right” proves the superiority of our holdings research and analytics.

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