Following the unexpected invasion of Ukraine by Russia last week, we believe investors must now guard their portfolios against more unforeseen events and further inflation. There is a range of defensive investments available to investors, including China and short-duration bond exposures, less-affected equities, sectors, and emerging market Dividend Aristocrats.
Assessing the severity of the disruption
For investors, there are several key considerations when any unexpected news breaks:
Does the news radically change investor risk appetite? The market is becoming increasingly risk averse as the prospects for a drawn-out conflict and sanctions increase.
Has the growth outlook changed in a material way? Yes. Sanctions will increase supply chain frictions, while high energy prices will act as a drag on growth.
Are there inflationary implications? Again, yes. High energy prices and supply chain disruptions will sustain higher levels of inflation.
Is there a liquidity impact? So far, only slightly. US LIBOR-SOFR spreads have widened, hinting at some stresses in the money markets, and Russian assets are impaired. More widely, however, markets have continued to function well.
All of these factors play into central bank policy decision-making. Recently, we have seen the Federal Reserve suggest that it will press ahead with raising rates, although there seems to be less consensus around how aggressively it needs to run down the balance sheet. The ECB is altogether more cautious. If liquidity is seen as a possible point of stress in markets, then it is likely that the balance sheet size reduction will be delayed.
Against this backdrop, we see four areas where investors can find defensive exposures or take shelter from a potential storm.
1. Fixed Income: Consider China and short-duration strategies
It looks like the initial shockwave has played out but investors are likely to remain wary of risk assets given the uncertainty of how things develop from here. So there may be some caution around credit in general and high yield in particular. Likewise, broad emerging market local currency debt exposures may struggle not only if they encompass eastern Europe but also because the USD typically rallies in this sort of environment. However, more targeted exposures, such as China treasury bonds, have held up well.
Short-duration strategies remain the most defensive. There is still a high degree of central bank tightening priced into the money markets, which should provide a buffer. If the war drags on, it is likely that central banks will take a more data-dependent path for raising rates. The front end of the curve is also less at risk from a sudden rebound in risk appetite and the pass-through of higher inflation pressures.
US and Japanese equities could provide a degree of protection given their lower proximity to the epicenter of the Russian invasion. In addition, the US and Japan have lower dependency on Russian commodities.
Within the US, we believe the S&P MidCap 400 is best positioned in the current environment given its more domestic profile relative to large caps. Furthermore, valuations of mid cap companies offer a cushion, trading at a 12-month forward P/E of 14.6x while the S&P 500 trades at a P/E of 18.8x (Bloomberg Finance L.P. as of the 24 February 2022 market close).
Japan could be less affected by the consequences of the invasion and, similar to US mid caps, multiples for MSCI Japan are not stretched, with the 12-month forward P/E at 12.3x. Undemanding valuations may be an important factor in both cases as exposures with elevated P/E multiples are now challenged not only by expected policy tightening but also deteriorating sentiment. Both the USD and JPY could serve as preferred safe-haven currencies and thus see stronger demand.
3. Sectors: Energy is top of mind while health care offers shelter
We have seen consistent inflows into energy ETFs over the past week, which is not a surprise given the intense focus already given to oil and gas pricing in this conflict. The new seven-year-high crude oil price clearly contains a risk premium, but it could be sustained given the significant supply/demand imbalance.
This imbalance looks set to grow, with post-pandemic activity rebounding at the same time as possible supply disruption from Russia. $100 per barrel for Brent crude oil may become the new floor. Energy share prices have lagged the oil price for months and the gap widened last week. Gas prices are also rising given Russia’s dominant position in European gas supply and the stopping of Nord Stream 2. Despite strong performance for more than a year, energy sector valuation is still below its long-term average.
The health care sector offers defensiveness, not least because of the sustainable, non-discretionary nature of its products and services demand. The sector has been largely ignored despite delivering solutions during the COVID pandemic and it has relatively attractive valuations (both on a historic and relative basis). The current reporting season has seen a majority of positive surprises to earnings and subsequent small upgrades.
We see from State Street custody data that institutional investors have been buying health care second only to energy. However, health care is still extremely underweight, on average, across portfolios. A major investor concern has been the introduction of pricing limits on prescription drugs in the US, but with this crisis further adding to Biden’s political agenda, it has become a less likely outcome in the current administration.
4. Dividend Stability: Go to emerging markets amid geopolitical instability
Seeking out dividend stability in emerging market equities could provide a degree of protection against the emergence of geopolitical instability. Prior to the escalating conflict in eastern Europe, global equity markets were already considering the impact that a transitioning interest rate regime would have on pro-growth compared to opportunistic value. The convergence of geopolitical instability with a less attractive pro-growth environment makes an interesting case for investors getting defensive with their emerging market equity exposure.
The Dividend Aristocrats approach is to find companies that have a prolonged track record of delivering dividend stability. The SPDR® S&P® Emerging Markets Dividend Aristocrats UCITS ETF seeks to replicate the S&P Emerging Markets High Yield Dividend Aristocrats® Index, which is comprised of the stocks that have increased or maintained dividends every year for at least five consecutive years. These stocks have both capital growth and dividend income characteristics, as opposed to stocks that are pure yield or pure capital oriented.
1 Prior to 1 February 2022, the Fund was known as SPDR Bloomberg Barclays 1-3 Year U.S. Treasury Bond UCITS ETF (Dist), tracking the Bloomberg Barclays U.S. 1-3 Year Treasury Bond Index.
2 Prior to 1 February 2022, the Fund was known as SPDR Bloomberg Barclays 1-3 Year Euro Government Bond UCITS ETF (Dist), tracking the Bloomberg Barclays Euro 1-3 Year Treasury Bond Index.
3 Prior to 1 February 2022, the Fund was known as SPDR Bloomberg Barclays 0-3 Year Euro Corporate Bond UCITS ETF (Dist), tracking the Bloomberg Barclays Euro 0-3 Year Corporate Bond Index.
Information Classification: General Access.
For professional clients use only.
For Investors in Austria: The offering of SPDR ETFs by the Company has been notified to the Financial Markets Authority (FMA) in accordance with section 139 of the Austrian Investment Funds Act. Prospective investors may obtain the current sales Prospectus, the articles of incorporation, the KIID as well as the latest annual and semi-annual report free of charge from State Street Global Advisors Europe Limited, Branch in Germany, Brienner Strasse 59, D-80333 Munich. T: +49 (0)89-55878-400.F: +49 (0)89-55878-440.
For Investors in Finland: The offering of funds by the Companies has been notified to the Financial Supervision Authority in accordance with Section 127 of the Act on Common Funds (29.1.1999/48) and by virtue of confirmation from the Financial Supervision Authority the Companies may publicly distribute their Shares in Finland. Certain information and documents that the Companies must publish in Ireland pursuant to applicable Irish law are translated into Finnish and are available for Finnish investors by contacting State Street Custodial Services (Ireland) Limited, 78 Sir John Rogerson’s Quay, Dublin 2, Ireland.
For Investors in France: This document does not constitute an offer or request to purchase shares in the Company. Any subscription for shares shall be made in accordance with the terms and conditions specified in the complete Prospectus, the KIID, the addenda as well as the Company Supplements. These documents are available from the Company centralizing correspondent: State Street Banque S.A., Coeur Défense - Tour A - La Défense 4 33e étage 100, Esplanade du Général de Gaulle 92 931 Paris La Défense cedex France or on the French part of the site ssga.com/etfs. The Company is an undertaking for collective investment in transferable securities (UCITS) governed by Irish law and accredited by the Central Bank of Ireland as a UCITS in accordance with European Regulations. European Directive no. 2014/91/EU dated 23 July 2014 on UCITS, as amended, established common rules pursuant to the cross-border marketing of UCITS with which they duly comply. This common base does not exclude differentiated implementation. This is why a European UCITS can be sold in France even though its activity does not comply with rules identical to those governing the approval of this type of product in France.The offering of these compartments has been notified to the Autorité des Marchés Financiers (AMF) in accordance with article L214-2-2 of the French Monetary and Financial Code.
For Investors in Germany: The offering of SPDR ETFs by the Companies has been notified to the Bundesanstalt für Finanzdienstleistungsaufsicht (BaFin) in accordance with section 312 of the German Investment Act. Prospective investors may obtain the current sales Prospectuses, the articles of incorporation, the KIIDs as well as the latest annual and semi-annual report free of charge from State Street Global Advisors Europe Limited, Branch in Germany, Brienner Strasse 59, D-80333 Munich. Telephone: +49 (0)89-55878-400. Facsimile: +49 (0)89-55878-440.
Ireland: State Street Global Advisors Europe Limited is regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland. Registered office address 78 Sir John Rogerson’s Quay, Dublin 2. Registered Number: 49934. T: +353 (0)1 776 3000. F: +353 (0)1 776 3300.
Israel: No action has been taken or will be taken in Israel that would permit a public offering of the Securities or distribution of this sales brochure to the public in Israel. This sales brochure has not been approved by the Israel Securities Authority (the ‘ISA’).
Accordingly, the Securities shall only be sold in Israel to an investor of the type listed in the First Schedule to the Israeli Securities Law, 1978, which has confirmed in writing that it falls within one of the categories listed therein (accompanied by external confirmation where this is required under ISA guidelines), that it is aware of the implications of being considered such an investor and consents thereto, and further that the Securities are being purchased for its own account and not for the purpose of re-sale or distribution.
This sales brochure may not be reproduced or used for any other purpose, nor be furnished to any other person other than those to whom copies have been sent.
Nothing in this sales brochure should be considered investment advice or investment marketing as defined in the Regulation of Investment Advice, Investment Marketing and Portfolio Management Law, 1995 (“the Investment Advice Law”). Investors are encouraged to seek competent investment advice from a locally licensed investment advisor prior to making any investment. State Street is not licensed under the Investment Advice Law, nor does it carry the insurance as required of a licensee thereunder.
This sales brochure does not constitute an offer to sell or solicitation of an offer to buy any securities other than the Securities offered hereby, nor does it constitute an offer to sell to or solicitation of an offer to buy from any person or persons in any state or other jurisdiction in which such offer or solicitation would be unlawful, or in which the person making such offer or solicitation is not qualified to do so, or to a person or persons to whom it is unlawful to make such offer or solicitation.
Italy: State Street Global Advisors Europe Limited, Italy Branch (“State Street Global Advisors Italy”) is a branch of State Street Global Advisors Europe Limited, registered in Ireland with company number 49934, authorised and regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland, and whose registered office is at 78 Sir John Rogerson’s Quay, Dublin 2. State Street Global Advisors Italy is registered in Italy with company number 11871450968 - REA: 2628603 and VAT number 11871450968, and its office is located at Via Ferrante Aporti, 10 - 20125 Milan, Italy. T: +39 02 32066 100. F: +39 02 32066 155.
For Investors in Luxemburg: The Companies have been notified to the Commission de Surveillance du Secteur Financier in Luxembourg in order to market its shares for sale to the public in Luxembourg and the Companies are notified Undertakings in Collective Investment for Transferable Securities (UCITS).
Netherlands: This communication is directed at qualified investors within the meaning of Section 2:72 of the Dutch Financial Markets Supervision Act (Wet op het financieel toezicht) as amended. The products and services to which this communication relates are only available to such persons and persons of any other description should not rely on this communication. Distribution of this document does not trigger a licence requirement for the Companies or SSGA in the Netherlands and consequently no prudential and conduct of business supervision will be exercised over the Companies or SSGA by the Dutch Central Bank (De Nederlandsche Bank N.V.) and the Dutch Authority for the Financial Markets (Stichting Autoriteit Financiële Markten). The Companies have completed their notification to the Authority Financial Markets in the Netherlands in order to market their shares for sale to the public in the Netherlands and the Companies are, accordingly, investment institutions (beleggingsinstellingen) according to Section 2:72 Dutch Financial Markets Supervision Act of Investment Institutions.
Norway: The offering of SPDR ETFs by the Companies has been notified to the Financial Supervisory Authority of Norway (Finanstilsynet) in accordance with applicable Norwegian Securities Funds legislation. By virtue of a confirmation letter from the Financial Supervisory Authority dated 28 March 2013 (16 October 2013 for umbrella II) the Companies may market and sell their shares in Norway.
For Investors in Spain: State Street Global Advisors SPDR ETFs Europe I and II plc have been authorised for public distribution in Spain and are registered with the Spanish Securities Market Commission (Comisión Nacional del Mercado de Valores) under no.1244 and no.1242. Before investing, investors may obtain a copy of the Prospectus and Key Investor Information Documents, the Marketing Memoranda, the fund rules or instruments of incorporation as well as the annual and semi-annual reports of State Street Global Advisors SPDR ETFs Europe I and II plc from Cecabank, S.A. Alcalá 27, 28014 Madrid (Spain) who is the Spanish Representative, Paying Agent and distributor in Spain or at spdrs.com. The authorised Spanish distributor of State Street Global Advisors SPDR ETFs is available on the website of the Securities Market Commission (Comisión Nacional del Mercado de Valores).
Switzerland: The collective investment schemes referred to herein are collective investment schemes under Irish law. Prospective investors may obtain the current sales prospectus, the articles of incorporation, the KIID as well as the latest annual and semi-annual reports free of charge from the Swiss Representative and Paying Agent, State Street Bank International GmbH, Munich, Zurich Branch, Beethovenstr. 19, 8027 Zurich, as well as from the main distributor in Switzerland, State Street Global Advisors AG, Beethovenstrasse 19, 8027 Zurich. Before investing please read the prospectus and the KIID, copies of which can be obtained from the Swiss representative, or at ssga.com.
United Kingdom: The Funds have been registered for distribution in the UK pursuant to the UK’s temporary permissions regime under regulation 62 of the Collective Investment Schemes (Amendment etc.) (EU Exit) Regulations 2019. The Funds are directed at 'professional clients' in the UK (as defined in rules made under the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000) who are deemed both knowledgeable and experienced in matters relating to investments. The products and services to which this communication relates are only available to such persons and persons of any other description should not rely on this communication. Many of the protections provided by the UK regulatory system do not apply to the operation of the Funds, and compensation will not be available under the UK Financial Services Compensation Scheme.
This document has been issued by State Street Global Advisors Europe Limited (“SSGAEL”), regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland. Registered office address 78 Sir John Rogerson’s Quay, Dublin 2. Registered number 145221. T: +353 (0)1 776 3000. Fax: +353 (0)1 776 3300. Web: ssga.com.
SPDR ETFs is the exchange traded funds (“ETF”) platform of State Street Global Advisors and is comprised of funds that have been authorised by Central Bank of Ireland as open-ended UCITS investment companies.
State Street Global Advisors SPDR ETFs Europe I & II plc issue SPDR ETFs, and is an open-ended investment company with variable capital having segregated liability between its sub-funds. The Company is organised as an Undertaking for Collective Investments in Transferable Securities (UCITS) under the laws of Ireland and authorised as a UCITS by the Central Bank of Ireland.
The information provided does not constitute investment advice as such term is defined under the Markets in Financial Instruments Directive (2014/65/EU) or applicable Swiss regulation and it should not be relied on as such. It should not be considered a solicitation to buy or an offer to sell any investment. It does not take into account any investor's or potential investor’s particular investment objectives, strategies, tax status, risk appetite or investment horizon. If you require investment advice you should consult your tax and financial or other professional advisor.
All information is from SSGA unless otherwise noted and has been obtained from sources believed to be reliable, but its accuracy is not guaranteed. There is no representation or warranty as to the current accuracy, reliability or completeness of, nor liability for, decisions based on such information and it should not be relied on as such.
ETFs trade like stocks, are subject to investment risk and will fluctuate in market value. The investment return and principal value of an investment will fluctuate in value, so that when shares are sold or redeemed, they may be worth more or less than when they were purchased. Although shares may be bought or sold on an exchange through any brokerage account, shares are not individually redeemable from the fund. Investors may acquire shares and tender them for redemption through the fund in large aggregations known as “creation units.” Please see the fund’s prospectus for more details.
The trademarks and service marks referenced herein are the property of their respective owners. Third party data providers make no warranties or representations of any kind relating to the accuracy, completeness or timeliness of the data and have no liability for damages of any kind relating to the use of such data.
The views expressed in this material are the views of SPDR EMEA Strategy & Research through the period ending 25 February 2022 and are subject to change based on market and other conditions. This document contains certain statements that may be deemed forward-looking statements. Please note that any such statements are not guarantees of any future performance and actual results or developments may differ materially from those projected.
Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future performance.
Investing involves risk including the risk of loss of principal.
This information should not be considered a recommendation to invest in a particular sector or to buy or sell any security shown. It is not known whether the sectors or securities shown will be profitable in the future.
Equity securities may fluctuate in value in response to the activities of individual companies and general market and economic conditions.
Investments in small/mid-sized companies may involve greater risks than in those of larger, better known companies, but may be less volatile than investments in smaller companies.
Concentrated investments in a particular sector tend to be more volatile than the overall market and increases risk that events negatively affecting such sectors or industries could reduce returns, potentially causing the value of the Fund’s shares to decrease.
Bonds generally present less short-term risk and volatility than stocks, but contain interest rate risk (as interest rates raise, bond prices usually fall); issuer default risk; issuer credit risk; liquidity risk; and inflation risk. These effects are usually pronounced for longer-term securities. Any fixed income security sold or redeemed prior to maturity may be subject to a substantial gain or loss.
Investing in foreign domiciled securities may involve risk of capital loss from unfavourable fluctuation in currency values, withholding taxes, from differences in generally accepted accounting principles or from economic or political instability in other nations.
Investments in emerging or developing markets may be more volatile and less liquid than investing in developed markets and may involve exposure to economic structures that are generally less diverse and mature and to political systems which have less stability than those of more developed countries.
Standard & Poor’s, S&P and SPDR are registered trademarks of Standard & Poor’s Financial Services LLC (S&P); Dow Jones is a registered trademark of Dow Jones Trademark Holdings LLC (Dow Jones); and these trademarks have been licensed for use by S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC (SPDJI) and sublicensed for certain purposes by State Street Corporation. State Street Corporation’s financial products are not sponsored, endorsed, sold or promoted by SPDJI, Dow Jones, S&P, their respective affiliates and third party licensors and none of such parties make any representation regarding the advisability of investing in such product(s) nor do they have any liability in relation thereto, including for any errors, omissions, or interruptions of any index.
The whole or any part of this work may not be reproduced, copied or transmitted or any of its contents disclosed to third parties without SSGA’s express written consent.
The information contained in this communication is not a research recommendation or ‘investment research’ and is classified as a ‘Marketing Communication’ in accordance with the Markets in Financial Instruments Directive (2014/65/EU) or applicable Swiss Regulation. This means that this marketing communication (a) has not been prepared in accordance with legal requirements designed to promote the independence of investment research (b) is not subject to any prohibition on dealing ahead of the dissemination of investment research.
Investing in foreign domiciled securities may involve risk of capital loss from unfavourable fluctuation in currency values, withholding taxes, from differences in generally accepted accounting principles or from economic or political instability in other nations. Investments in emerging or developing markets may be more volatile and less liquid than investing in developed markets and may involve exposure to economic structures that are generally less diverse and mature and to political systems which have less stability than those of more developed countries.
Please refer to the Fund’s latest Key Investor Information Document and Prospectus before making any final investment decision. The latest English version of the prospectus and the KIID can be found at www.ssga.com.
A summary of investor rights can be found here: https://www.ssga.com/library-content/products/fund-docs/summary-of-investor-rights/ssga-spdr-investors-rights-summary.pdf
Note that the Management Company may decide to terminate the arrangements made for marketing and proceed with de-notification in compliance with Article 93a of Directive 2009/65/EC
Disclaimer: The Goldener Bulle award given by Finanzen.net on 02 February 2018 which recognises from investors who demonstrate our highest rated ETF range of all ETF companies. The award/ranking given is chosen based on investor's feedback for the time period of 01.01.2017 - 31.12.2017.
Important Risk Information:
SPDR ETF is the exchange traded funds ("ETF") platform of State Street Global Advisors and is comprised of funds that have been authorised by European regulatory authorities as open-ended UCITS investment companies. SPDR ETFs may not be available or suitable for you.
ETFs trade like stocks, are subject to investment risk, fluctuate in market value and may trade at prices above or below the ETFs net asset value. Brokerage commissions and ETF expenses will reduce returns.
Changes in exchange rates may have an adverse effect on the value, price or income of an investment. Further, there is no guarantee an ETF will achieve its investment objective.
SHARES IN THE FUNDS OF THE SPDR® ETF SICAV, SSGA SPDR ETFS EUROPE I AND SSGA SPDR ETFS EUROPE II PLC MAY NOT BE AVAILABLE FOR OR SUITABLE FOR YOU. THE VIEWS EXPRESSED IN THIS SITE DO NOT CONSTITUTE INVESTMENT ADVICE. INDEPENDENT ADVICE SHOULD BE SOUGHT IN CASES OF DOUBT. NEITHER THE INFORMATION NOR ANY OPINION CONTAINED ON THIS SITE CONSTITUTES A SOLICITATION OR OFFER TO BUY OR SELL SHARES OF THE FUNDS OR ANY OTHER FINANCIAL INSTRUMENT.
Standard & Poor's®, S&P® and SPDR® are registered trademarks of Standard & Poor's Financial Services LLC (S&P); Dow Jones is a registered trademark of Dow Jones Trademark Holdings LLC (Dow Jones); and these trademarks have been licensed for use by S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC (SPDJI) and sublicensed for certain purposes by State Street Corporation. State Street Corporation's financial products are not sponsored, endorsed, sold or promoted by SPDJI, Dow Jones, S&P, their respective affiliates and third party licensors and none of such parties make any representation regarding the advisability of investing in such product(s) nor do they have any liability in relation thereto, including for any errors, omissions, or interruptions of any index.
SPDR ETFs may be offered and sold only in those jurisdictions where authorised, in compliance with applicable regulations.
Information related to Mexico
This information does not constitute and is not intended to constitute marketing or an offer of securities and accordingly should not be construed as such. The Funds referenced herein have not been, and will not be, registered under the Mexican Securities Market Law (Ley del Mercado de Valores) and may not be publicly offered or sold in the United Mexican States. Disclosure documentation related to any of the aforementioned Funds may not be distributed publicly in Mexico and shares of the Funds may not be traded in Mexico.
You should obtain and read a prospectus and KIID relating to the SPDR ETFs prior to investing. Further information and the prospectus/KIID describing the characteristics, costs and risks of SPDR ETFs are available for residents of countries where SPDR ETFs are authorised for sale on the SPDRs website and from your local SSGA office.