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June 24, 2022

Momentum Investing: Go With The Flow

Ask a group of people what’s the best way to invest, and you’ll get a range of answers. One proven approach that remains widely popular is factor-based investing. This approach combines characteristics of active and passive investing, and aims to enhance returns or manage risk by focusing on a particular investment factor.

 

There are six major investment factors:

  1. Dividend yield. Looks for excess returns from stocks whose dividend yields are above average
  2. Low volatility. Targets securities with stable earnings and lower risk than the broader market
  3. Quality. Focuses on stable profits and cash flow, reasonable leverage or better relative credit quality
  4. Momentum. Seeks companies with improving fundamentals and a recent trend of outperformance
  5. Value. Identifies lower-cost securities that are undervalued in relation to their intrinsic value
  6. Size. Targets excess returns of smaller companies relative to ones with a larger market capitalization

 

The Momentum factor

 

While each factor may be viable as part of an investment strategy – the prevailing market or economic conditions will dictate which factors are most suitable at the time – let’s focus on Momentum. It has been one of the best performing factors since the global financial crisis of 2008-09 and can work with different asset classes (stocks, bonds, commodities, etc.). The Momentum factor is among the most popular factor-based strategies.

 

Momentum investing turns the adage of “buy low, sell high” on its head and may actually be characterized as buying high and selling even higher. It’s a systematic process based on the belief that investors should heed – and profit from – the power of trends.

 

Here’s the premise of momentum investing.

 

Certain securities that have recently performed well should continue doing so, while underperformers may continue to lag. Many investors submit to “herd mentality” and follow the safety of the crowd (i.e., consensus thinking). As such, they often keep bidding a security higher, even if fundamentals suggest such optimism is unwarranted. This “FOMO” phenomenon may present an attractive opportunity for momentum investing to shine.

 

While some investors are often quick to take profits once their securities have generated gains, momentum investing stays in the game and looks to achieve even bigger wins as positive market sentiment picks up steam. The challenge is figuring out when one trend is ending and another is poised to begin.

 

Our Momentum ETFs

 

Fortunately, individual investors can avoid the guesswork and the time, effort and stress that accompany it. Our well-established suite of Momentum ETFs offer investors a disciplined, rules-based way to participate in the growth potential of upward-trending companies with share prices that have recently performed well. The three ETFs in our suite are:

 

 

Our Momentum ETFs seek to capitalize on the Momentum factor by replicating, to the extent possible, the Morningstar® Target Momentum Indices. These proprietary indices methodically rank stocks based on above-average returns on equity, with an emphasis on upward earnings estimate revisions and technical price momentum indicators. Index constituents are equally weighted and the indices automatically rebalance quarterly, providing targeted exposure to the Momentum factor.

 

Using data from Morningstar Direct, here’s an example of how well the Momentum factor has performed over the past two decades. As a broad-based index of 500 large U.S. companies, the S&P 500 Index is often used to represent U.S. stocks in general. From January 1, 2002 to February 28, 2022, this index returned 9.0% on an annual basis. Meanwhile, the corresponding Momentum factor returned 11.8% annually over the same period, almost one-third higher than the benchmark index.

 

Should the trend be your friend?

 

Momentum investing seeks to take advantage of “groupthink” as investors extend the price-movement trend (higher or lower) of securities beyond what the fundamentals may indicate. On a relative basis, this investment strategy has performed well over the past 20+ years, making our Momentum ETFs worthy of consideration for diversified investment portfolios.

IMPORTANT DISCLAIMERS

 

Commissions, management fees and expenses all may be associated with an investment in exchange-traded funds (ETFs). You will usually pay brokerage fees to your dealer if you purchase or sell units of an ETF on recognized Canadian exchanges. If the units are purchased or sold on these Canadian exchanges, investors may pay more than the current net asset value when buying units of the ETF and may receive less than the current net asset value when selling them. Please read the prospectus before investing. Important information about an exchange-traded fund is contained in its prospectus. The indicated rates of return are the historical annual compounded total returns net of fees and expenses payable by the fund (except for figures of one year or less, which are simple total returns) including changes in security value and reinvestment of all dividends/distributions and do not take into account sales, redemption, distribution or optional charges or income taxes payable by any securityholder that would have reduced returns. ETFs are not guaranteed; their values change frequently, and past performance may not be repeated.

 

This document is provided as a general source of information and should not be considered personal, legal, accounting, tax or investment advice, or construed as an endorsement or recommendation of any entity or security discussed. Every effort has been made to ensure that the material contained in this document is accurate at the time of publication.  Market conditions may change which may impact the information contained in this document. Individuals should seek the advice of professionals, as appropriate, regarding any particular investment. Investors should consult their professional advisors prior to implementing any changes to their investment strategies. 

 

Certain statements contained in this communication are based in whole or in part on information provided by third parties and CI Global Asset Management has taken reasonable steps to ensure their accuracy. Market conditions may change which may impact the information contained in this document.

 

Certain statements in this document are forward-looking. Forward-looking statements (“FLS”) are statements that are predictive in nature, depend upon or refer to future events or conditions, or that include words such as “may,” “will,” “should,” “could,” “expect,” “anticipate,” “intend,” “plan,” “believe,” or “estimate,” or other similar expressions. Statements that look forward in time or include anything other than historical information are subject to risks and uncertainties, and actual results, actions or events could differ materially from those set forth in the FLS. FLS are not guarantees of future performance and are by their nature based on numerous assumptions. Although the FLS contained herein are based upon what CI Global Asset Management and the portfolio manager believe to be reasonable assumptions, neither CI Global Asset Management nor the portfolio manager can assure that actual results will be consistent with these FLS. The reader is cautioned to consider the FLS carefully and not to place undue reliance on FLS. Unless required by applicable law, it is not undertaken, and specifically disclaimed that there is any intention or obligation to update or revise FLS, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.

 

The CI Exchange-Traded Funds (ETFs) are managed by CI Global Asset Management, a subsidiary of CI Financial Corp. (TSX: CIX, NYSE: CIXX).

 

Morningstar® is a trademark of Morningstar, Inc. The Funds are not sponsored, endorsed, sold or promoted by Morningstar or any of its affiliates (collectively, "Morningstar"), and Morningstar makes no representation regarding the advisability of investing in these Funds.