Small-Caps a Great Play on Value Investing Amidst S&P 500 Highs

While the S&P 500 is beginning to experience some pressure, it is still only 2% off of its record highs, the most recent set this month. With so many investors having flocked to the large-cap growth companies, some advisors are looking at the valuation prices in small-caps.

“With the market at all-time highs, it’s about looking where people aren’t and I think that’s small caps right now,” Jeff Mills, CIO at Bryn Mawr Trust, told CNBC’s “Trading Nation” on Monday.

The S&P 500 has consistently set records for much of the year, while the Russell 2000, a benchmark for small-caps, has underperformed. This has led to some of the cheapest valuations in the last 20 years of small-caps versus large-caps on a forward price-earnings basis relative to the S&P 500, said Mills.

“In the beginning of the year what you saw were investors moving to small caps, moving to cyclicals because everybody anticipated this unabated economic recovery. I think as economic data started to slow down as delta started to come into the fray, I think people started to move away from that and actually huddle into large cap so that is the more crowded trade right now,” Mills said.

Small-Cap Exposure With AVUV

American Century Investments, partnering with Avantis Investments, offers the Avantis U.S. Small Cap Value ETF (AVUV), an ETF that invests in companies with low valuation but high profitability ratios.

An actively managed ETF, AVUV combines the typical benefits of following an index — diversification, low turnover, and a transparency of exposures — with the flexibility to capture price movements as they happen.

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For benchmarking purposes, the fund uses the Russell 2000 Value Index, which tracks the 2,000 smallest capitalization stocks of the larger Russell 3000 Index, but the ETF does not replicate this index.

AVUV’s portfolio managers use fundamental screens such as shares outstanding, cash flow, expenses, revenue, and book-to-value to select stocks. Smaller companies with high profitability are weighted more heavily than those with lower returns and higher prices.

In addition, AVUV can also invest in derivatives, such as future contracts, currency forwards, and swap agreements to gain exposure to equities and manage cash flow.

AVUV’s top holdings include Alcoa Corp (AA), an American industrial corporation that produces aluminum, at 0.96%; Cimarex Energy Co (XEC), a company that explores hydrocarbon in shale oil and gas drilling, at 0.91%; and Dick’s Sporting Goods Inc (DKS) at 0.90%.

As of the end of August, some of the top sector allocations for the fund include financials at 30%, consumer discretionary at 18%, and industrials at 16%.

AVUV has an expense ratio of 0.25%.

For more news, information, and strategy, visit the Core Strategies Channel.