Back to top

Image: Bigstock

Reasons to Bet on High Beta ETFs & Stocks

Read MoreHide Full Article

The U.S. stocks extended its election rally this week with the Dow Jones and the S&P 500 indices hitting new record levels. The momentum was driven by a vaccine development, which is being viewed as “a beginning to the end” of the coronavirus pandemic, and the prospect of divided congress, which is considered favorable for the economy (read: 6 Best-Performing Leveraged ETF Areas of Last Week).


Moderna (MRNA - Free Report) released preliminary data from its late-stage trials, which showed that its vaccine candidate was 94.5% effective against the coronavirus. With this, the small biotech company seems to be on its way toward grabbing an Emergency Use Authorization from the Food and Drug Administration for mRNA-1273, perhaps before the end of the year. If it holds true, Moderna’s vaccine may be ready for widespread public distribution sometime in January 2021. The firm expects to have roughly 20 million doses of its vaccine ready to ship in the United States by the end of this year. It is on track to manufacture 500 million to 1 billion doses globally in 2021.

The Moderna news came on the heels of the promising late-stage trial results last week from the U.S. drugmaker Pfizer (PFE - Free Report) and German biotech firm BioNTech for their COVID-19 vaccine candidate. The data showed that the candidate was more than 90% effective in preventing the disease. Pfizer said that it expects to have 50 million vaccine doses globally this year, and 1.3 billion in 2021.

There are dozens of more companies that are in the process of developing vaccines, and are expected to instill more optimism into the economy and the stock market. However, the number of coronavirus cases is still rising, thus dampening the prospects of a swift economic recovery (read: Biggest ETF Winners from Coronavirus Vaccine News).

Divided Congress

Apart from this, the optimism over a potentially divided Congress is lifting investors’ sentiment. Democratic candidate Joe Biden is likely to gain the control of the White House while Republicans may keep the Senate. The combination will lead to favorable economic policies with reduced chances of major tax increases and tighter regulations. Biden has become the presumptive President-elect of the United States while the fight for the control of the Senate is ongoing, as no candidate has reached the required 50% threshold to win outright.

Historical Outperformance

November marks the start of the best six months for the Dow Jones and the S&P 500, and the best eight-month period for the Nasdaq, according to Almanac, citing “fourth-quarter cash inflows from institutions.” Seasonality plays a vital role in the stock market surge during the six-month period from November to April. Cyclical stocks from consumer discretionary, industrials, financials and energy tend to benefit the most.

Amid such scenario, high-beta ETFs and stocks seem a perfect choice at present.

Why High Beta?

Beta measures the price volatility of stocks or funds relative to the overall market. It has a direct relationship with market movements. A beta of more than 1 indicates that the price tends to move higher than the broader market and is extremely volatile, while a beta of less than 1 indicates the stock price or fund is less volatile than the market.

That said, high-beta stocks seek to capitalize on consistent growth with market-beating returns. This is because when markets soar, high-beta stocks experience larger gains than the broader market counterparts and thus, outpace the rivals. However, these exhibit a higher level of volatility.

Below, we have highlighted some ETFs and stocks that could be intriguing picks for investors to play the bullish trend.

ETF Picks

We have chosen ETFs that are not confined to a specific sector or industry but offer exposure to the broader stock market.

Invesco S&P SmallCap 600 Pure Value ETF (RZV - Free Report)

This fund provides pure exposure to the small-cap stock that exhibit strong value characteristics by tracking the S&P SmallCap 600 Pure Value Index.

Zacks Rank: #3 (Hold)
Beta: 1.69
AUM: $123 million
Expense Ratio: 0.35%

Invesco S&P MidCap 400 Pure Value ETF (RFV - Free Report)

This product offers exposure to the mid-cap stocks that exhibit strong value characteristics by tracking the S&P Midcap 400 Pure Value Index.

Zacks Rank: #3
Beta: 1.64
AUM: $62.3 million
Expense Ratio: 0.35%

Invesco S&P 500 High Beta ETF (SPHB - Free Report)

This fund offers exposure to stocks with the highest sensitivity to market movements, or beta over the past 12 months. It follows the S&P 500 High Beta Index (read: Sector ETFs & Stocks to Buy This November).

Zacks Rank: N/A
Beta: 1.55
AUM: $578.6 million
Expense Ratio: 0.25%

Salt truBeta High Exposure Fund (SLT - Free Report)

This fund follows the Salt High truBeta US Market Index, which uses an objective, rules-based methodology to measure the performance of an equal-weighted portfolio of approximately 100 large and mid-capitalization U.S. listed stocks with the highest forecasted systematic risk relative to the market.

Zacks Rank: N/A
Beta: 1.55
AUM: $8.7 million
Expense Ratio: 0.60%

Vanguard U.S. Value Factor ETF (VFVA - Free Report)

This is an actively managed ETF and invests in stocks with relatively lower market valuations relative to fundamentals, such as book value of equity and earnings.

Zacks Rank: N/A
Beta: 1.46
AUM: $125.6 million
Expense Ratio: 0.14%

Stocks Picks

We have chosen stocks with a top Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) or 2 (Buy) and a VGM Score of B or better along with high beta. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.

Antero Resources Corporation (AR - Free Report)

This independent explorer is primarily engaged in the acquisition and development of natural gas, natural gas liquids and oil resources in the Appalachian Basin.

Zacks Rank: #2
VGM Score: A
Beta: 4.76
Market Cap: $1.07 billion

Civeo Corporation (CVEO - Free Report)

It is a provider of long-term and temporary remote site accommodations, logistics and facility management services.

Zacks Rank: #2
VGM Score: A
Beta: 3.72
Market Cap: $163.76 million

Rayonier Advanced Materials Inc. (RYAM - Free Report)

It operates as a global supplier of cellulose specialties products, a natural polymer for the chemical industry.

Zacks Rank: #2
VGM Score: B
Beta: 3.44
Market Cap: $282.5 million

Party City Holdco Inc. (PRTY - Free Report)
This company designs, manufactures, contracts for manufacture and distributes party goods, including paper and plastic tableware, metallic and latex balloons, Halloween and other costumes, accessories, novelties, gifts and stationery (read: Time to Rotate to Cyclical Sector ETFs?).

Zacks Rank: #1
VGM Score: B
Beta: 3.38
Market Cap: $345.2 million

Herc Holdings Inc. (HRI - Free Report)

This company, through its subsidiary Herc Rentals Inc., provides equipment rental suppliers primarily in North America.

Zacks Rank: #1
VGM Score: B
Beta: 3.26
Market Cap: $1.5 billion

Bottom Line

Given the bullish backdrop, high-beta products will continue to generate outsized returns in the coming weeks and are suitable for risk-tolerant investors, given their volatile nature.

Want key ETF info delivered straight to your inbox?

Zacks’ free Fund Newsletter will brief you on top news and analysis, as well as top-performing ETFs, each week. Get it free >>