Dana Funds Investment Team

Recent Posts

When it Comes to Analyzing Stocks, A Bond Background Doesn’t Hurt

Posted by Dana Funds Investment Team on Feb 25, 2021 3:39:30 PM

With equity markets at all-time highs and many businesses still struggling due to a pandemic, it seems reasonable to ask: What could possibly go wrong?

At Dana, that question is a fundamental aspect of our research process, and something we spend a lot of time thinking about before any stock makes it into our portfolios. That type of risk awareness stems largely from our roots as a fixed income manager.

In a recent Q&A, our CEO, Mark Mirsberger, explained how a fixed income background has informed our approach to equities, and led to a focus on higher-quality stocks for our strategies. A brief snippet of that interview is below:

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Looking to Invest Toward a Cyclical Rebound? It’s Nuanced

Posted by Dana Funds Investment Team on Feb 18, 2021 5:06:11 PM

With coronavirus vaccinations on the rise and cases trending down, it’s natural to think about what a cyclical rebound will look like, and which stocks will benefit. But investing in this cyclical bounce will be more complicated than previous recoveries, in large part because it will play out at different times and speeds across each industry and sector.

At Dana we take a long-term perspective with our holdings, and don’t position portfolios with a single overarching macro view. That said, we are nevertheless mindful of what a recovery will mean for different stocks and invest opportunistically when attractive valuation opportunities present themselves.

Below is an overview of how we are investing in companies we believe are well positioned as things turnaround:

Opportunities Began Last March

When stocks first sold off due to the pandemic, energy companies were hit with a double whammy, as an oil price war between Russia and Saudi Arabia erupted, just as global demand was poised to slow. With valuations depressed, we saw that as an opportunity, and selectively added a couple of exploration and production companies that we felt had stable balance sheets and could weather a downturn in prices. Those stocks have appreciated significantly with a bounce in oil prices.

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A Fair Question for ESG Managers

Posted by Dana Funds Investment Team on Feb 11, 2021 4:16:12 PM

With billions pouring into ESG strategies, asset managers are suddenly (and unsurprisingly) on board. Everyone has an ESG strategy, or purports to incorporate ESG factors into their analysis of a company.

This can make it tough for anyone conducting due diligence on ESG strategies to decipher which ones are truly rooted in ESG principles, and which asset managers truly believe it can affect a stock’s performance. Here’s a fair question to ask managers to see where their conviction lies: How did you decide that ESG is important to analyzing a company.

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Key Implications and Takeaways from the GameStop Phenomenon

Posted by Dana Funds Investment Team on Feb 2, 2021 10:49:57 AM

The retail trading phenomenon driving up shares of GameStop, AMC and a few other stocks has become one of the biggest investment stories in recent memory, in large part because a battle between Wall Street hedge funds and Main Street investors makes for a compelling story. But when the momentum fizzles out, we believe there are both ramifications and lessons to learn from the event.

In an interview Friday, Dana portfolio managers Michael Honkamp and David Weinstein shared their perspectives on some of the things the financial community should take away from what’s happened.

Q: Beyond the Reddit posts, what are the forces feeding this phenomenon?

Michael Honkamp: Current market conditions are ripe for all sorts of asset appreciation, and we’re seeing that in commodity prices and other pockets of the market. In short, we’re coming out of a sharp recession with many consumers in good shape, and with central banks and governments practically spraying money on the economy. If you look at the money supply growth, the slope is unlike anything we’ve ever seen. At the same time, consumers have limited spending options. The rise in retail trading of some of these stocks is just another sign of excess.

David Weinstein: I would just add that there were some industry forces that converged to help fuel the rise in these stocks. We’ve all been stuck at home, with little to do. Retail investors have become more sophisticated. You’re seeing them participate in options markets like never before. At the same time, Robinhood has been disruptive to the brokerage industry, making trading cheaper and taking it to the masses. Buying fractional shares has also allowed more people to participate in investing. These are long-term positives – we want everyone to have access to stock markets – but it can also lead to events like we saw last week.

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ESG in 2021: More Client Interest, More Strategies to Choose From

Posted by Dana Funds Investment Team on Jan 28, 2021 3:59:51 PM

ESG interest reached a tipping point in 2020, now accounting for a third of the $51.4 trillion in U.S. assets under professional management, according to the Forum for Sustainable and Responsible Investment’s 2020 trends report.

As investor interest has swelled, ESG funds may have reached a tipping point of their own. At least 20 new ESG funds have launched in each of the last six years, and by mid-year, 2020 was on pace to experience a record number of ESG fund launches.¹

Other data also points to a more competitive ESG market. Data from Sustainable Research and Analysis found that in 2010, the 10 largest ESG funds held 70.6% of all sustainably invested assets under management. A decade later, those 10 largest funds held only 38% market share.2

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Tech Sector Outlook: Look Beyond FAANG

Posted by Dana Funds Investment Team on Jan 21, 2021 5:12:19 PM

Editor’s Note: Our technology sector outlook is part of a regular series sharing our views on various sectors. It’s part of our efforts to increase communication with investors at a time of economic and market uncertainty. While the sector outlooks provide a short overview of our thinking, we invite you to contact us if you are interested in a deeper discussion.


For much of 2020, gains in broad indices were largely concentrated, as a few mega-cap tech companies dominated performance. The FAANG stocks, or as they are grouped more recently, FAANMG (Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix, Microsoft and Google) enjoyed heady returns while most other stocks trailed significantly.

True, some of these stocks fall in the consumer discretionary sector, but for all intents and purposes, they share a common thread: dominant technology platforms that individuals have relied upon heavily during the pandemic.

In 2021, opportunities in the technology sector could widen. This blog looks at a few of the additional bright spots, a few potential headwinds for pockets of the tech sector, and how we are navigating the current environment.

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Attn Advisors: An Asset Managers’ Culture May Impact Your Client’s Experience

Posted by Dana Funds Investment Team on Jan 14, 2021 3:57:36 PM

At Dana, we were pleased to end 2020 with some positive recognition, making Pensions & Investments’ list of best places to work for the ninth straight year. We celebrate that news, and are sharing it with our clients, for a simple reason: Culture matters.

In our view, a positive work culture doesn’t just benefit employees within a company. It also translates into a better client experience. This is likely true for any industry, but we believe it’s particularly important to asset management.

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Top 3 Blog Posts of 2020

Posted by Dana Funds Investment Team on Jan 5, 2021 3:30:01 PM

As 2021 kicks off, we wanted to share a few blog posts that could help you and your clients navigate the coming year. These were among our most read blogs of 2020, but they continue to be relevant today.

The first reflects on the extreme concentration risk within the S&P 500 index. We believe this is an issue that will bear watching in 2021. The second offers several stats aimed at keeping clients invested through a bear market. We hope it provides a timeless reference guide for any client you have who may have trouble staying the course when volatility strikes. The third offers perspective on the historical divergence between growth and value stocks in recent years, which remains a topical issue.

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Taking Stock of 2020: Reflective Questions for Advisors and Clients

Posted by Dana Funds Investment Team on Dec 10, 2020 4:19:30 PM

If there were ever a year to have a reflective conversation with clients, 2020 is it. From the virus, to market volatility to election uncertainty, the year has been filled with tensions. The end of the year provides a natural opportunity to reflect on those issues and make both a portfolio - and a client relationship - stronger.

If you’re an advisor going through year-end meetings with clients, we wanted to provide a few questions, suggestions and resources that may help your clients reflect on 2020 and stimulate deeper conversations. We know the vast majority of advisors will cover these issues in some shape or fashion, and have the pulse on their own clients more than anyone. But given how unusual 2020 has been, it never hurts to think of new ways to ask reflective questions.

In the spirit of sharing, here are a few items that may help you and your client reflect on a year of upheaval. We hope you find them useful heading into the new year:

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Three Charts That Put Historic Growth-Value Divergence in Perspective

Posted by Dana Funds Investment Team on Dec 3, 2020 5:26:06 PM

Value stocks have quietly made a bit of a comeback in recent weeks, due in part to positive news on coronavirus vaccines, which could hold the key to opening the economy and helping many of the cyclical businesses in value indices. If this is the sign of a new turn for value, it was a long time coming.

The charts below offer perspective on just how wide the gulf between value and growth stocks has become. While we won’t try to predict whether a recent bounce by value stocks – the Russell 3000 Value Index outperformed the Russell 3000 Growth by more than 600 basis points the week ending 11/13 – we believe the wide delta in performance and valuation suggests an attractive entry point for value stocks, and a potentially long run for the investment style when it returns to favor.

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The Dana Funds are distributed by Ultimus Fund Distributors, LLC. There is no affiliation between Ultimus Fund Distributors, LLC. and the firms referenced in this blog post.