According to the Zacks Earnings Trend, total earnings for 81.9% of market cap for the S&P 500 companies are up 9.3% with a beat ratio of 66.8% while revenues increased 4.8% on revenue beat of 56.1%. Despite robust earnings, the stocks and the ETFs are seeing rough trading over the past one month due to risk-off trade.
This is because concerns over the ongoing violence in the Middle East, rising Russian sanctions, Argentina default, Portuguese banking woes, uncertainty over the timing of the Federal Reserve’s rate hike and an aging bull market resurfaced lately, pushing the stocks down.
In such a backdrop, many investors are seeking to tap earnings growth opportunities, setting aside the geopolitics. Further, the pace of earnings growth is expected to accelerate from 4.2% gain in the first half of this year to 7.2% in the second half and 12.3% next year.
While there are several options in the ETF world, investors should consider earnings-focused ETFs rather than market cap counterparts to play this trend. These funds include those companies that generated positive cumulative earnings over the most recent four fiscal quarters.
Why are Earnings ETFs Better?
Since earnings have been the most important drivers of stock performance over the longer period, earnings-weighted ETFs seem more compelling than the ETFs that utilize a market capitalization approach. This is especially true, as these are less volatile and may not experience as big a boom or bust as its market cap focused peers in an uncertain environment.
Earnings are the lifeblood of any business that determine the ability and soundness of the company, and its growth prospects. Earnings producing companies generally catch investors eye due to their solid financial position and growth potential, thereby leading stock prices higher.
On the other hand, market cap ETFs not only include all the profitable companies but also focus on companies that have not found a way to turn a profit and may never be able to do so. This strategy increases the risk in the portfolio and is more vulnerable to political or economic turmoil when compared to earnings-focused ETFs (see: all the total market cap ETFs here).
As a result, tilting toward this key metric is a sensible choice. For investors seeking to do this, there is a small lineup of U.S. focused ETFs that accomplishes this task. Below, we have highlighted the funds that could be great choices for investors seeking to make money in a rocky market while at the same time focusing on one of the most important aspects of stock investing. These products have a favorable Zacks Rank of 3 or ‘Hold’ rating.
WisdomTree Earnings 500 Fund (NYSEARCA:EPS)
This fund provides exposure to the earnings-generating companies within the large-cap segment of the broad U.S. stock market by tracking the WisdomTree Earnings 500 Index. Holding 506 stocks in its basket, the fund is well spread out across each component as none of these holds more than 4.53% share.
Additionally, the product has diverse exposure to a number of sectors with information technology, financials and consumer discretionary occupying the top three positions. The ETF has amassed $110.9 million in its asset base and charges 28 bps in annual fees. Volume is light trading in less than 6,000 shares a day. The fund is up 5.4% in the year-to-date time frame.