The market headwinds are both potent and unusual these days, meaning that advisors need to grasp financial news as it breaks. They must be able to rapidly unpack complex topics in order to serve their clients. This is where experts like the VettaFi Voices come into play.
VettaFi has a bevy of thought leaders who will share their perspectives in real time as events unfold. The front page is updated as stories roll in, but there are several key features and returning columns that advisors should catch to stay on top of the latest thoughts, ideas, and strategies.
Every Friday, the VettaFi Voices unpack a specific, relevant topic. This gives advisors a glimpse into the nerdy, crunchy discussions that light up the VettaFi company slack. It also gives access to how the VettaFi Voices are processing the biggest stories in finance.
Last week, they went over the winners and losers of earnings season, with head of ETF research Todd Rosenbluth noting: “While second quarter earnings are trending higher than expected, which always happens due to analyst conservatism, the consensus still expected earnings declines for Q1 and AQ2. It seems like the second half is when a return to earnings growth is to be expected, despite fears of a recession.”
Head of energy research Stacey Morris, meanwhile, saw silver linings in energy. “Despite the weakness in energy stocks lately, the sector saw broadly positive earnings results, including midstream.”
Associate director of research and former stock analyst Roxanna Islam also weighed in. “Companies can control revenue to an extent by controlling prices, but at a certain point it’s easier to control costs. We saw a lot of that over the past few quarters. Companies have been able to cut down on rent expenses and travel expenses with remote workers. They’ve also cut spending and, maybe most significantly, laid off a number of their workers. I think many analysts are starting to look for these cost-cutting measures rather than growth.”
Bull vs. Bear
One of VettaFi’s most popular features is Bull vs. Bear. In this column, two VettaFi writers square off, arguing the bull or bear position for a given topic. Nothing illuminates more than a healthy debate between two crackerjack writers who have done the research to box their corner.
A recent Bull vs. Bear touched on gold, an increasingly compelling subject for investors as the market faces headwinds. Arguing the bull case, Nick Peters-Golden said: “Put simply, the most powerful currency in the world, the U.S. dollar, is backed by “the full faith and credit” of the U.S. government — but that currency can still be significantly devalued by inflation. Gold’s value, in comparison, is much more durable. It’s real in ways that the dollar’s value can’t match — and traditionally, while the dollar loses value as prices rise, gold tends to rise.”
In the bear corner, Karrie Gordon said: “From 1972 (when the dollar was unpegged to gold) until now, the gold to Consumer Price Index ratio has been average of 3.6. As of the end of March 2023, the gold-to-CPI ratio was 6.4. A true inflation hedge would have maintained stability over that period and remained largely the same no matter how inflation was moving.”
Bull vs. Bear is published every Wednesday and is an excellent tool for advisors who want to challenge their priors or get some good information to have at their fingertips to defend their market perspectives.
Sometimes it’s easier to get information from the spoken word rather than the written one. VettaFi Voices frequently appear on podcasts such as Nate Geraci’s “ETF Prime.” Additionally, Todd Rosenbluth hosts the popular “ETF 360,” in which he sits down with the asset managers who are creating the innovative and compelling products that solve investors’ problems.
In a recent episode, Allianz’s Johan Grahn dug into the company’s popular buffered ETFs, which allow investors to sacrifice some upside in Exchange for downside protection.