U.S. equity markets have been on a tear since President Donald Trump’s election, owing to his pro-growth policies. However, various concerns over geopolitics and political stability in the United States bother the markets (read: U.S. ETFs in Focus as Market Cap Hits $30 trillion).
Trump’s tax reform was recently signed into law, driving U.S. equity markets higher. As a part of the measures introduced in the reform, the corporate tax rate was slashed to 21% from the previous 35%. Small-caps are significantly expected to benefit from this move, as the median effective tax rate is higher for small-cap stocks than large caps.
The Trump administration indicated last month that it now plans to work on infrastructure spending, after the massive tax overhaul was passed. We might see developments in the infrastructure space, as recently a copy of Trump’s infrastructure plan got leaked. "We are not going to comment on the contents of a leaked document but look forward to presenting our plan in the near future," White House spokeswoman Lindsay Walters told CNBC (read: US Industrial Production Beats Expectations: ETFs in Focus).
Coming to regulation cut down, Trump aims to cut down on stringent regulations for ease of doing business. He especially targets to cut a lot out of the Dodd Frank Act, as he thinks it restricts business growth. The bill, if passed, would allow small banks to avoid certain elements of federal oversight, such as stress tests, which measure an institution’s ability to withstand economic downturns. “We’re looking at Dodd-Frank very strongly and I think we’ll have something on that,” Trump told the Wall Street Journal.
Geopolitical risks have been on the rise. In his New Year’s address, North Korean premier, Kim Jong-un, warned the United States of potential nuclear action in case his country is threatened (read: What Does Kim Jong-Un's Speech Hold For Safe Haven ETFs?).
Moreover, rising concerns in the Middle East are bothering the markets. Rising political unrest in Iran and Venezuela are driving fear among investors. Since small-cap stocks have more domestic exposure, the capitalization is not likely to be disturbed by geopolitical risks.
Let us now discuss a few ETFs focused on providing exposure to U.S. small-cap equities.
iShares Russell 2000 ETF (IWM - Free Report)
This fund seeks to provide exposure to small cap U.S. companies and tracks the Russell 2000 index.
It has AUM of $43.2 billion and charges a fee of 20 basis points a year. From a sector look, the fund has high exposures to Financials, Information Technology and Health Care with 18.0%, 16.9% and 15.5% allocation, respectively (as of Jan 19, 2018). The fund’s top three holdings are Nektar Therapeutics (NKTR - Free Report) , Bluebird Bio Inc (BLUE - Free Report) and Sage Therapeutics Inc (SAGE - Free Report) with 0.5%, 0.4% and 0.3% allocation, respectively (as of Jan 19, 2018). The fund has returned 20.2% in a year. It has a Zacks ETF Rank #3 (Hold) with a Medium risk outlook.
iShares Core S&P Small-Cap ETF (IJR - Free Report)
This fund is one of the most popular ETFs traded in the U.S. markets. It seeks to provide exposure to small cap companies.
It has AUM of $37.8 billion and charges a fee of 7 basis points a year. From a sector look, the fund has high exposures to Industrials, Financials and Consumer Discretionary with 19.3%, 16.1% and 15.4% allocation, respectively (as of Jan 19, 2018). The fund’s top three holdings are Nektar Therapeutics, Chemed Corp and Cantel Medical Corp (CMD - Free Report) with 1.4%, 0.5% and 0.5% allocation, respectively (as of Jan 19, 2018). The fund has returned 19.6% in a year. It has a Zacks ETF Rank #3 with a Medium risk outlook.
Vanguard Small-Cap ETF (VB - Free Report)
This fund seeks to provide exposure to small cap U.S. companies and tracks the CRSP US Small Cap Index.
It has AUM of $22.4 billion and charges a fee of 6 basis points a year. From a sector look, the fund has high exposures to Financials, Industrials and Consumer Services with 24.6%, 20.8% and 12.0% allocation, respectively (as of Dec 31, 2017). The fund’s top three holdings are Diamondback Energy Inc. (FANG - Free Report) , XPO Logistics Inc. (XPO - Free Report) and Broadridge Financial Solutions Inc. (BR - Free Report) with 0.3% allocation each (as of Dec 31, 2017). The fund has returned 20.3% in a year. It has a Zacks ETF Rank #3 with a Medium risk outlook.
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