Media Fund Takes Top Honors Among Discretionary ETFs

December 17th at 10:30am by Todd Shriber

Up 50% this year, the PowerShares Dynamic Media Portfolio (NYSEArca: PBS) is in a strong position to end 2013 as the year’s top-performing consumer discretionary ETF.

That is no small feat when considering that, at the sector level, consumer discretionary is narrowly outpacing health care to wear the crown of 2013’s best sector. [Leading Sectors Gain Ground in S&P 500]

Helping boost PBS in 2013 has the increasing fervor over smart beta ETFs. Although PBS is eight and a half years old, proving it is smart beta jargon not the concept itself is new, some investors may not realize this is not an ordinary cap-weighted sector fund. Rather, the 30 stocks that populate PBS are selected based on price momentum, earnings momentum, quality, management action, and value, according to PowerShares.

And because it is a smart beta ETF, PBS has some leeway regarding what stocks make it into the fund. For example, nearly a quarter of the ETF’s weight is allocated to the technology sector, including a 5% allocation to Google (NasdaqGM: GOOG). Shares of Google are up more than 48%.

Still, the primary drivers of the surge in PBS this year have been “old line” media companies. DirecTV (NasdaqGM: DTV), CBS (NYSE: CBS), Walt Disney (NYSE: DIS) and Time Warner (NYSE: TWX) combine for 20% of the ETF’s weight and DirecTV is the WORST performer of that group with a 27.5% 2013 gain. CBS is up a Google-esque 50%. [Small ETFs Pack a Big Punch]

With 2014 right around the corner, the obvious question is whether or not PBS can even come to close to duplicating its 2013 performance. Although asking for another 50% gain is asking a lot, the odds do favor an up year for PBS because, like it or not, 2014 is a mid-term election year.

That means additional advertising revenue for PBS holdings such as CBS, Disney and Time Warner. PBS debuted in June 2005, so it has been around for four U.S. election years – 2006, 2008, 2010 and 2014. With 2008 being the outlier because of the global financial crisis, PBS posted double-digit gains in the other election years, including a 20.2% gain in the 2010 mid-term cycle.

PowerShares Dynamic Media Portfolio

 

Tom Lyon’s clients own shares of Google.

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