A smart beta exchange traded fund, the SPDR MSCI USA StrategicFactors ETF (
QUS Quick Quote QUS - Free Report) debuted on 04/15/2015, and offers broad exposure to the Style Box - Large Cap Blend category of the market. What Are Smart Beta ETFs?
The ETF industry has long been dominated by products based on market cap weighted indexes, a strategy created to reflect the market or a particular market segment.
Market cap weighted indexes offer a low-cost, convenient, and transparent way of replicating market returns, and are a good option for investors who believe in market efficiency.
There are some investors, though, who think it's possible to beat the market with great stock selection; this group likely invests in another class of funds known as smart beta, which track non-cap weighted strategies.
This kind of index follows this same mindset, as it attempts to pick stocks that have better chances of risk-return performance; non-cap weighted strategies base selection on certain fundamental characteristics, or a mix of such characteristics.
Methodologies like equal-weighting, one of the simplest options out there, fundamental weighting, and volatility/momentum based weighting are all choices offered to investors in this space, but not all of them can deliver superior returns.
Fund Sponsor & Index
Managed by State Street Global Advisors, QUS has amassed assets over $826.38 million, making it one of the larger ETFs in the Style Box - Large Cap Blend. Before fees and expenses, QUS seeks to match the performance of the MSCI USA Factor Mix A-Series Index.
The MSCI USA Factor Mix A-Series Index measures the equity market performance of large and mid-cap companies across the U.S. equity market. It aims to represent the performance of a combination of three factors: value, quality, and low volatility.
Cost & Other Expenses
Cost is an important factor in selecting the right ETF, and cheaper funds can significantly outperform their more expensive cousins if all other fundamentals are the same.
With one of the cheaper products in the space, this ETF has annual operating expenses of 0.15%.
QUS's 12-month trailing dividend yield is 1.60%.
Sector Exposure and Top Holdings
Even though ETFs offer diversified exposure that minimizes single stock risk, investors should also look at the actual holdings inside the fund. Luckily, most ETFs are very transparent products that disclose their holdings on a daily basis.
QUS's heaviest allocation is in the Information Technology sector, which is about 26.20% of the portfolio. Its Healthcare and Financials round out the top three.
When you look at individual holdings, Apple Inc. (
AAPL Quick Quote AAPL - Free Report) accounts for about 3.33% of the fund's total assets, followed by Microsoft Corporation ( MSFT Quick Quote MSFT - Free Report) and Unitedhealth Group Incorporated ( UNH Quick Quote UNH - Free Report) .
QUS's top 10 holdings account for about 18.26% of its total assets under management.
Performance and Risk
Year-to-date, the SPDR MSCI USA StrategicFactors ETF has lost about -18.61% so far, and is down about -10.99% over the last 12 months (as of 10/07/2022). QUS has traded between $101.57 and $131.16 in this past 52-week period.
The ETF has a beta of 0.91 and standard deviation of 23.32% for the trailing three-year period, making it a medium risk choice in the space. With about 630 holdings, it effectively diversifies company-specific risk.
SPDR MSCI USA StrategicFactors ETF is a reasonable option for investors seeking to outperform the Style Box - Large Cap Blend segment of the market. However, there are other ETFs in the space which investors could consider.
IShares Core S&P 500 ETF (
IVV Quick Quote IVV - Free Report) tracks S&P 500 Index and the SPDR S&P 500 ETF ( SPY Quick Quote SPY - Free Report) tracks S&P 500 Index. IShares Core S&P 500 ETF has $280.97 billion in assets, SPDR S&P 500 ETF has $345.17 billion. IVV has an expense ratio of 0.03% and SPY charges 0.09%.
Investors looking for cheaper and lower-risk options should consider traditional market cap weighted ETFs that aim to match the returns of the Style Box - Large Cap Blend.
To learn more about this product and other ETFs, screen for products that match your investment objectives and read articles on latest developments in the ETF investing universe, please visit
Zacks ETF Center.