This Day On The Street
Continue to site right-arrow
ADVERTISEMENT
This account is pending registration confirmation. Please click on the link within the confirmation email previously sent you to complete registration.
Need a new registration confirmation email? Click here
TheStreet Open House

Rise of Smart Index ETFs

Stocks in this article: FCG FXH XLE

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- ETFs that employ quantitative indexing strategies shouldn't be overlooked by investors.

These products cover the same slices of the market as plain vanilla index ETFs, but rather than offering investors a "dumb" market-capitalization-weighted index, provide a "smart" index designed to outperform the market.

One of the most important strengths of quantitative index ETFs is the dynamic aspect of their portfolios. A fund using a valuation measure such as price-to-earnings, for instance, would sell expensive stocks and buy cheap stocks when it reallocates.

However, this can be considered a drawback in terms of transparency. The portfolio you purchased a few weeks ago may not be the same as it is today if the fund went through a rebalancing. For instance, the First Trust ISE-Revere Natural Gas Index (FCG), which uses some valuation methods to determine which stocks to include in the index, recently rebalanced and added several large integrated oil companies.

While I believe that FCG is still a good option for playing natural gas because its portfolio holds many smaller natural gas companies, investors need to realize that when they purchase a quantitative index ETF, they are buying a strategy, not necessarily a portfolio of stocks. The strategy may stay the same, but the portfolio will change, sometimes substantially.

PowerShares Intellidex lineup and First Trust AlphaDEX funds use multifactor models that can include earnings, dividends, valuation and performance.

Within the PowerShares Intellidex model are four "perspectives": valuation, timeliness, fundamentals and risk.

The valuation perspective consists of seven factors designed to determine whether a stock's price is undervalued based on its price relative to its current earnings and expected growth.

Timeliness uses seven factors to determine the short-term attractiveness of a company's shares based on investor sentiment and recent changes in investor expectations regarding the stock.

The fundamental perspective uses seven criteria, including earnings sustainability and operational efficiency, to evaluate the financial strength of a company.

Finally, the Intellidex's risk perspective examines the risk-reward profile of a company using both fundamental and technical market measures of investment risk.

For AlphaDEX, the calculations are slightly different. For instance, to constitute the index for its Large Cap Core AlphaDEX Fund (FEX), each stock in the S&P 500 is first ranked according to its three-, six- and twelve-month price appreciation, sales-to-price ratio, and one-year sales growth.

Next, the stock is evaluated according to its book value-to-price and cash flow-to-price ratios, as well as its return on assets. The bottom 25% of stocks are eliminated, and the remaining 75% of stocks are split into quintiles, with the top quintile receiving 5/15 of assets and successive quintiles receiving 4/15, 3/15 and so on. The stocks are equally weighted within each quintile.

1 of 3

Check Out Our Best Services for Investors

Action Alerts PLUS

Jim Cramer and Stephanie Link reveal their investment tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.

Product Features:
  • $2.5+ million portfolio
  • Large-cap and dividend focus
  • Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
Quant Ratings

Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.

Product Features:
  • Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
  • Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
  • A custom stock screener
Stocks Under $10

Jim Cramer's protégé, David Peltier, uncovers low dollar stocks with extraordinary upside potential that are flying under Wall Street's radar.

Product Features:
  • Model portfolio
  • Stocks trading below $10
  • Intraday trade alerts
Try it NOW
Try it NOW
Try it NOW

Check Out Our Best Services for Investors

Dividend Stock Advisor

Jim Cramer's protégé, David Peltier, identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.

Product Features:
  • Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
  • Updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
Trifecta Stocks

Every recommendation goes through 3 layers of intense scrutiny—quantitative, fundamental and technical analysis—to maximize profit potential and minimize risk.

Product Features:
  • Model Portfolio
  • Intra Day Trade alerts
  • Access to Quant Ratings
Options Profits

Our options trading pros provide over 100 monthly option trading ideas and strategies to help you become a well-seasoned trader.

Product Features:
  • Actionable options commentary and news
  • Real-time trading community
Try it NOW
Try it NOW
Try it NOW
To begin commenting right away, you can log in below using your Disqus, Facebook, Twitter, OpenID or Yahoo login credentials. Alternatively, you can post a comment as a "guest" just by entering an email address. Your use of the commenting tool is subject to multiple terms of service/use and privacy policies - see here for more details.
Submit an article to us!

Markets

DOW 17,164.95 -251.90 -1.45%
S&P 500 1,994.99 -26.26 -1.30%
NASDAQ 4,635.24 -48.1670 -1.03%

Partners Compare Online Brokers

Free Reports

Free Newsletters from TheStreet

My Subscriptions:

After the Bell

Before the Bell

Booyah! Newsletter

Midday Bell

TheStreet Top 10 Stories

Winners & Losers

Register for Newsletters
Top Rated Stocks Top Rated Funds Top Rated ETFs