For Markets, What Comes After Election Results and Vaccine?

Posted by Dana Funds Investment Team on Nov 20, 2020 2:18:21 PM

In the past two weeks, investors got a lot more clarity on two of the largest clouds hanging over the market: the U.S. election and the coronavirus.

We now know who the next president is, and have a better idea (Georgia’s Senate election notwithstanding) of what the balance of power will look like in Washington D.C. And news that Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine has shown a high success rate offers hope that we may be on the path toward addressing the coronavirus pandemic and normalizing the economy, even if current infection spread is alarming.

In this brief Q&A, Dana portfolio managers Joseph Veranth and David Weinstein reflect on what the election and vaccine could mean for markets going forward

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Are Small Caps Poised to Outpace Large Caps Again?

Posted by Dana Funds Investment Team on Nov 4, 2020 4:28:51 PM

Large cap stocks have outperformed small caps since the pandemic, but smaller stocks have begun to close that gap in recent weeks. It’s still early, but if investors stay patient, we believe small caps could be poised to continue to outperform in the coming quarters.

This blog post explores what was behind small cap underperformance in prior months, and why smaller stocks may outperform going forward, particularly when we receive clearer indicators of an economic rebound.

In Initial Months of Pandemic, Mega Caps Enjoyed Mega Dominance

Large caps’ outperformance over small caps in the spring and summer was due largely to the very largest stocks in the indices, a trend we noted in prior blogs. Many of the largest companies by market cap are tech stocks, and their revenue streams were naturally resistant to the pandemic and a stay-at-home lifestyle. Individuals still need Microsoft to work from home, for example, and relied on Amazon for delivery more than ever before.

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Is Consolidation Among Asset Managers Good for the Client?

Posted by Dana Funds Investment Team on Oct 22, 2020 4:06:38 PM

Mergers and Acquisitions (M&A) activity among asset management firms is creating some investment behemoths. As these businesses scale up, we hope their clients are asking a critical question: What’s in it for me?

The consolidation wave running through the industry continued this month, with Morgan Stanley announcing it will acquire Eaton Vance, and Trian taking stakes in two large asset managers with the hopes they will merge. The announcements follow several other mega-deals in the past few years.

Too often, the touted benefits of these mergers seem focused on two factors: size and scale. But does bigger mean better for the client? As a small investment boutique, we admit we approach this argument with our own bias, but we see a few reasons clients may not benefit when their investment partners merge.

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Election Day Q&A: What are the Wildcards That Could Affect Markets This November?

Posted by Dana Funds Investment Team on Oct 15, 2020 3:45:19 PM

The presidential race may be polarizing, but both sides can agree on one thing: It at least has been compelling. The unexpected twists and turns over the past month have everyone anxiously awaiting November.

We’re anxious too. But as investors, we don’t just think about who we want to win. We try to think about what could happen in a range of different – and unexpected – outcomes. In this brief Q&A, we look at some of the factors investors should consider before November. The views are not a wish list of a particular election outcome or an endorsement of a party or candidate, just straight-forward things that advisors and other investors should think about:

What is the base case markets are pricing in about elections right now?

Markets, like polls, are predicting a win for Joe Biden. The general view is that he would be less business-friendly and that this could ultimately weigh on corporate profits. However, it’s likely that Republicans could still control the Senate.

It’s generally believed Republicans will pick up a Senate seat in Alabama. If that happens, Democrats would need to flip three seats to get to 50/50. The most likely are Maine, North Carolina, Iowa, Colorado and Arizona. We believe the market is currently hanging its hat on a Biden win, but that flipping three of those five would be a tall order.

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Reflections on Stocks’ September Swoon

Posted by Dana Funds Investment Team on Oct 8, 2020 3:47:36 PM

Stocks recovered some ground last week, but September was the roughest month for U.S. equities since stocks began rebounding from bear market territory in late March. Below are a few quick takeaways on the September swoon, what may lie ahead, and how we are investing:

  • Given the disconnect between Wall Street and Main Street, a correction wasn’t entirely surprising. In the spring, the question clients asked us most frequently was why stocks continued to drive higher, despite high unemployment and a clear downturn in economic activity.

    The short answer was that fiscal and monetary stimulus boosted markets and gave hope that the economy would rebound quickly. In September, investors may have woken up to the reality that the economic recovery will be uneven, and economic activity and data will probably move in fits and starts. An impasse in Congress around additional coronavirus relief has raised additional concerns about the economic recovery.
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Mind Boggling: Reflections on New S&P 500 Records

Posted by Dana Funds Investment Team on Aug 27, 2020 12:39:47 PM

The S&P 500 has hit new records in recent days, completing a round trip that has been remarkable, rapid, resilient … and risky.

In a span of just 126 trading days, the S&P 500 went from peak to new peak, with a 34% drop in between. Below we offer some short, but important, takeaways on how we got here, what investors should have learned, what we are concerned about, and how we are investing going forward.

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Advisors Should Ask: Is My Investment Manager a Partner?

Posted by Dana Funds Investment Team on Aug 6, 2020 3:03:59 PM

The financial crisis was painful for anyone working on Wall Street, but the period gets credit for improving at least one industry dynamic: The bar for effective communication from an asset manager has been significantly raised.

As markets plummeted, advisors, consultants, investment committees and other key fund decision makers demanded dialogue from their portfolio managers about the market collapse and what they planned to do going forward. The demand for increased communication continues today, and is an industry trend we applaud.

Advisors and consultants deserve shared insight from their investment managers, and an open forum for communication. In short, they deserve true partnership. We believe boutique asset managers are best positioned to deliver the partnership clients deserve.

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Seven ESG Due Diligence Questions Every Advisor Should Ask

Posted by Dana Funds Investment Team on Jul 30, 2020 8:52:30 PM

As investor interest in ESG grows, so too are the number of ESG strategies to choose from. Already, 23 ESG funds have launched in 2020, and more than 20 others are in registration at the SEC, according to Morningstar.¹ This marks the sixth straight year of more than 20 launches.

With more fund launches, due diligence isn’t getting any easier. We believe one way advisors and other allocators can help their clients find the right strategy is to ask whether they want a fund that is directly engaging businesses to improve corporate policy around ESG issues.

Many ESG funds do not engage management teams on policies, but instead rely on ESG ratings to screen out non-ESG friendly companies and include companies with better ratings. That may well be enough for some clients.

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Why Investment Style Boxes Are Wrong Question to Ponder

Posted by Dana Funds Investment Team on Jul 16, 2020 4:39:39 PM

With growth stocks on a historical run of outperforming value, many allocators are wondering if mean reversion is due and are questioning their allocations to both style boxes. But growth or value may be the wrong question to ask.

As Dana portfolio managers explained in a recent Q&A on the ways active managers can differentiate their strategies, core strategies may provide optimal exposure. The Q&A also runs through a classic example of the perils of overpaying for growth, and touches on a less discussed benefit of core strategies: tax efficiency. As our portfolio managers explain:

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Top-Heavy & Troubling: S&P 500 Bears Extreme Concentration Risk

Posted by Dana Funds Investment Team on May 21, 2020 11:10:00 AM

The S&P 500 bears an extreme risk: too few stocks account for too much of its weight. The index is experiencing extreme concentration risk not seen in the last 30 years, with its five largest stocks now accounting for more than 20% of the entire index.

The chart below shows just how out of balance the weightings of the largest S&P 500 stocks have become. Currently, the total index weight of the five largest holdings is more than five standard deviations1 above normal.

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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.