Utilities Sector 4Q18: Best and Worst

David Trainer  |

The Utilities sector ranks eighth out of the 11 sectors as detailed in our 4Q18 Sector Ratings for ETFs and Mutual Funds report. Last quarter, the Utilities sector ranked sixth. It gets our Neutral rating, which is based on an aggregation of ratings of the 72 stocks in the Utilities secto. See a recap of our 3Q18 Sector Ratings here.

Figures 1 and 2 show the five best and worst rated ETFs and mutual funds in the sector. Not all Utilities sector ETFs and mutual funds are created the same. The number of holdings varies widely (from 15 to 232). This variation creates drastically different investment implications and, therefore, ratings.

Investors should not buy any Utilities 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.

Our Robo-Analyst technology[1] empowers our unique ETF and mutual fund rating methodology, which leverages our rigorous analysis of each fund’s holdings.[2] 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

Image Source: New Constructs, LLC

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

Sources: New Constructs, LLC and company filings

JHMU is excluded from Figure 1 because its total net assets (TNA) are below $100 million and do not meet our liquidity minimums.

Figure 2: Mutual Funds with the Best & Worst Ratings

Image Source: New Constructs, LLC

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

Sources: New Constructs, LLC and company filings

FUTY is the top-rated Utilities ETF and BULIX is the top-rated Utilities mutual fund. Both earn a Neutral rating.

PSCU is the worst rated Utilities ETF and ICTVX is the worst Utilities mutual fund. They both earn a Very Unattractive rating.

72 stocks of the 2850+ we cover are classified as Utilities 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 Utilities ETFs and mutual funds.

Figure 3: Separating the Best ETFs From the Worst ETFs

Image Source: New Constructs, LLC

Sources: New Constructs, LLC and company filings

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

Image Source: New Constructs, LLC

Sources: New Constructs, LLC and company filings

This article originally published on October 15, 2018.

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

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[1] Harvard Business School features the powerful impact of our research automation technology in the case New Constructs: Disrupting Fundamental Analysis with Robo-Analysts.

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

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


The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors, and do not represent the views of equities.com. Readers should not consider statements made by the author as formal recommendations and should consult their financial advisor before making any investment decisions. To read our full disclosure, please go to: http://www.equities.com/disclaimer

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