News Mentions & Press Releases

8 Best Fidelity Index Funds to Buy

July 12, 2019
Debbie Carlson — US News & World Report

Fidelity is the fourth-largest asset-management firm in the U.S., surpassed only by Vanguard, Pimco and BlackRock. Because of that size, it offers a big menu of cheap index mutual funds and exchange-traded funds for investors. When it comes to 401(k) plan participant satisfaction rankings in a J.D. Power study, Fidelity is among the top two positions for medium and small plan providers and in the top six for large-plan providers. Given their ubiquity in 401(k) plans, many savers with employer-sponsored retirement plans will likely see Fidelity index funds available for their accounts. Here are eight of the best Fidelity index mutual funds and ETFs.

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ESG: Investing In Line with Your Values

July 1, 2019
Eleanor Laise — Kiplinger

Sticking to your principles feels good. But could it also be good for your portfolio?
That’s the question raised by “sustainable” funds, an umbrella term for a diverse group of mutual funds and exchange-traded funds that generally incorporate environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) criteria in their investment processes. Typically, that doesn’t mean simply avoiding “sin” stocks such as alcohol, tobacco and firearms companies. The majority of these funds take a more active approach. They may seek out companies that have a strong track record on pollution, product safety and human rights; buy bonds that fund renewable energy projects; or actively engage with portfolio companies on board diversity or other governance issues.

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EventShares 10 Minutes 10 Answers Podcast

June 27, 2019
Ben Phillips, CFA — EventShares

EP 002 – Rusty Vanneman
Today I’m joined by Rusty Vanneman, who heads up CLS’s Portfolio Management Team overseeing all investment operations at CLS – investment philosophy, process, positioning, and performance.
Today’s 10 Questions
[1:42]  How is CLS changing the investment industry?
[3:38]  Big investment themes for the coming years?
[4:49]  What are investors missing on active management?
[6:08]  Biggest market lesson learned in 2019?
[7:17]  “Investing Dictionary”: What word would you remove?
[8:20]  Two factors to invest in for the next 100 years?
[10:12]  Hardest factor to quantify?
[10:30]  Current view on on ESG investing?
[10:58]  One bad recommendation you continue to hear?
[11:46]  Free tool for business you would recommend?

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Senior PM Shana Sissel speakers with TD Ameritrade Network’s Oliver Renick about tensions in the middle east and how that could impact crude oil prices in the weeks to come.

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Trading Grain ETFs

June 19, 2019
Lara Crigger — Trading Grain ETFs

ETF.com: We’ve been covering the grain space quite a bit on ETF.com lately. (Read: “Floods & Tariffs Lift Grain ETFs“; listen: “ETF Prime Podcast: Grain Funds Pop.”) You’ve also increased your allocation to corn ETFs recently. Why do you find CORN [the Teucrium Corn ETF] to be a compelling trade at the moment?
Grant Engelbart, CLS Investments: Generally, we’re asset allocators. We’re not all that tactical; we take a consistent amount of risk and make sure it’s balanced in our portfolios.
That leads us to use many different asset classes, particularly those with strong diversification properties. As of late, that’s been hard to find, but agricultural commodities tend to be driven by [fundamentals] completely diversified from the stock market, like weather conditions.
We’re value investors as well, so we’re constantly scouring the world for attractive value. When we look at an asset class like agriculture, one that’s been beaten down for years, we see compelling prices relative to their inflation-adjusted average prices.
Here in the Midwest—we’re located in Omaha, Nebraska—we’ve started to see changes in the supply/demand characteristics of the market that have led us to say this is attractive from a long-term perspective.
So we’ve invested in broad agriculture in general. We also use WEAT [the Teucrium Wheat Fund].

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Lyft, Zoom Mull ESG Disclosures

June 5, 2019
Dieter Holger — The Wall Street Journal

Lyft Inc. (LYFT) and Zoom Video Communications Inc. (ZM) are among recently listed technology startups mulling disclosures outlining their performance on environmental, social and governance goals, moves that come as investors increasingly look outside financials to evaluate a company’s risks and sustainability.

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The U.S.-China trade dispute may have investors concerned, but it’s not the only risk weighing on markets. Rusty Vanneman, CLS Investments President & CIO, discusses with Yahoo Finance’s Seana Smith on ‘The Ticker.’

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7 Best Bond Funds for Retirement

May 24, 2019
Debbie Carlson — U.S. News and World Report

Protect your retirement portfolio with bond funds.

People who are getting ready for retirement, or already retired, often boost their fixed-income asset allocation to protect the money they’ve earned. When considering bond funds for retirement, think about risk appetite and income needs, but also income-tax bracket, says Christopher Battifarano, chief investment officer at Florida-based FineMark National Bank & Trust. “If someone is moving into retirement and their tax bracket falls, they may want to explore going into corporate (bonds) because you could have some incremental yield,” he says. “If you can earn more in coupon income even after paying the tax, you’re in a better position.” Here are seven best bond exchange-traded funds for retirement.

iShares Core US Aggregate Bond ETF (ticker: AGG)

The AGG is a broadly diversified ETF that’s tied to the Bloomberg Barclays U.S. Aggregate Bond Index, considered the benchmark bond index and a core holding for a fixed-income portfolio. The ETF tracks an index of different types of U.S. investment-grade bonds, including U.S. Treasurys, agencies, commercial mortgage-backed securities and other debt, says Todd Rosenbluth, senior director of ETF and mutual fund research at CFRA. It’s one of the cheapest fixed-income funds around at 0.05% – $5 for every $10,000 invested – and one of the biggest with $60 billion in assets under management. Its 12-month yield is 2.73%.

iShares 3-7 Year Treasury Bond ETF (IEI)

For investors who want safety, a little more control over their time horizon and to target a certain point on the yield curve, one example is IEI, Rosenbluth says. The ETF tracks a market-weighted index of U.S. Treasury debt with remaining maturity between three and seven years. By going out slightly further on the yield curve, IEI has a little higher yield, but holders also need to be aware the longer duration can increase interest rate risk. It has a 12-month yield of 2.07%.

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8 Best Municipal Bond Funds to Buy and Hold

May 21, 2019
Debbie Carlson — U.S. News and World Report

Muni bond funds are attractive to investors in high tax brackets.

Investors who are looking boost their portfolio’s income may want to consider tax-free municipal bond funds. Dunkin Allison, co-chief investment officer at Delegate Advisors, says muni bonds’ recent performance is strong, driven by solid U.S. economic growth and low unemployment, plus low supply and a strong demand because of the historically low interest rate environment. When Allison analyzes muni bond funds, he looks at credit quality versus the risk taken, duration and cost. In the current interest rate environment, he prefers short-duration bond funds, those with five years or less to maturity. Here are eight muni bond funds for buy-and-hold investors to consider.

Nuveen Select Tax-Free Income Portfolio (ticker: NXP)

Chuck Self, chief investment officer for iSectors, says he uses NXP, which is a closed-end fund. Self says 80% of NXP’s holdings are investment grade, and it is one of the few closed-end funds with less than 1% leverage, reducing risk. The fund has a tax-free income return of 3.75% and currently trades at a 4% discount to its net asset value, which Self says is normal for the fund. “The low leverage means it takes on less risk, which makes it a superior choice,” he adds. The expense ratio is 0.26%, which amounts to $26 for every $10,000 invested.

Vanguard Tax-Exempt Bond ETF (VTEB)

Marc Pfeffer, chief investment strategist at CLS Investments, says he likes VTEB for its high-credit offerings and very low cost, calling Vanguard a “premier player in the muni bond space.” VTEB’s expense ratio is 0.08%, one of the lowest among its peers. The exchange-traded fundtracks a market-weighted index of investment-grade debt from state and local governments and governmental agencies. The fund is tax free at the federal income tax level and free from the alternative minimum tax. The yield is 3%.

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The Story of an ETN (Exchange-Traded Note)

May 21, 2019
Grant Engelbart, CFA — ETF Trends

It all started on a fine August day in 2006. Bees were buzzing, China was surging, NINJA loans were flowing, and oil had just come off an impressive surge and was poised for new records. Exchange-traded products had been around for more than 15 years but had yet to reach their more recent levels of rapid growth. Investors wanted exposure to high-flying oil prices, and they wanted better tax treatment. In came Barclay’s, ready to raise the exchange-traded note (ETN) industry to new heights. The Barclays iPath S&P GSCI Crude Oil Total Return Index ETN (original ticker OIL) was born.
It didn’t take long before assets began to build in the product – helped, no doubt, by “peak oil” worries and insatiable demand from the rest of the world. Additional ETNs were issued throughout 2008 and 2009, and that was met with increased volumes in the product. (See issuance level in orange and net assets in green on chart below. More on this later.)

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