Materials Sector 1Q17: Best and Worst

The Materials sector ranks eighth out of the ten sectors as detailed in our 1Q17 Sector Ratings for ETFs and Mutual Funds report. Last quarter, the Materials sector ranked sixth. It gets our Dangerous rating, which is based on an aggregation of ratings of 10 ETFs and 11 mutual funds in the Materials sector as of January 19, 2017. See a recap of our 4Q16 Sector Ratings here.

Figure 1 ranks from best to worst all ten Materials ETFs and Figure 2 shows the five best and worst-rated Materials mutual funds. Not all Materials sector ETFs and mutual funds are created the same. The number of holdings varies widely (from 26 to 121). This variation creates drastically different investment implications and, therefore, ratings.

Investors should not buy any Materials ETFs or mutual funds because none get an Attractive-or-better rating. If you must have exposure to this sector, you should buy a basket of Attractive-or-better rated stocks and avoid paying undeserved fund fees. Active management has a long history of not paying off.

Here is our ETF and mutual fund rating methodology, which leverages our rigorous analysis of each fund’s holdings. 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

newconstructs_materialsetf_1q17* 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

materials1q17_figure2* Best mutual funds exclude funds with TNAs less than $100 million for inadequate liquidity.

Sources: New Constructs, LLC and company filings

PowerShares S&P SmallCap Materials Portfolio (PSCM) is the top-rated Materials ETF and Vanguard Materials Index Fund (VMIAX) is the top-rated Materials mutual fund. Both earn a Neutral rating.

SPDR S&P Metals & Mining ETF (XME) is the worst rated Materials ETF and Basic Materials Fund (RYBCX) is the worst rated Materials mutual fund. Both earn a Very Dangerous rating.

156 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

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

materials1q17_figure3

Sources: New Constructs, LLC and company filings

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

materials1q17_figure4

Sources: New Constructs, LLC and company filings

This article originally published here on January 23, 2017.

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

Click here to download a PDF of this report. 

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