Telecom Services Sector 4Q17: Best and Worst

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

Figure 1 ranks from best to worst all four Telecom Services ETFs that meet our liquidity minimums and Figure 2 ranks from best to worst eight Telecom Services mutual funds. Not all Telecom Services sector ETFs and mutual funds are created the same. The number of holdings varies widely (from 20 to 56). This variation creates drastically different investment implications and, therefore, ratings.

Investors seeking exposure to the Telecom Services 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

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

Sources: New Constructs, LLC and company filings

iShares North American Tech-Multimedia Networking ETF (IGN) and State Street SPDR S&P Telecom ETF (XTL) are excluded from Figure 1 because their total net assets (TNA) are below $100 million and do not meet our liquidity minimums.

Figure 2: Mutual Funds with the Best & Worst Ratings

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

Sources: New Constructs, LLC and company filings

iShares Global Telecom ETF (IXP) is the top-rated Telecom Services ETF and Fidelity Select Wireless Portfolio (FWRLX) is the top-rated Telecom Services mutual fund. Both earn a Very Attractive rating.

iShares U.S. Telecommunications ETF (IYZ) is the worst rated Telecom Services ETF and Fidelity Advisor Telecommunications Fund (FTUAX) is the worst rated Telecom Services mutual fund. IYZ earns an Unattractive rating and FTUAX earns a Very Unattractive rating.

45 stocks of the 3000+ we cover are classified as Telecom Services stocks, but due to style drift, Telecom Services ETFs and mutual funds hold 56 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 Telecom Services 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 11, 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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