VEGA

AdvisorShares STAR Global Buy-Write ETF

Performance data quoted represents past performance and is no guarantee of future results. Current performance may be lower or higher than the performance data quoted. Investment return and principal value will fluctuate so that an investor’s shares, when redeemed, may be worth more or less than original cost. Returns less than one year are not annualized. For the fund’s most recent month end performance, please click www.advisorshares.com/fund/VEGA.

July 2018 Portfolio Manager Review


Category Review

  July YTD
VEGA NAV* 2.25% 2.79%
MSCI World Index 3.12% 3.57%
BXM Index 2.93% 4.76%
Int. Gov’t/Credit Bond 0.03% -0.95%
Policy Benchmark 2.28% 3.10%

Policy Benchmark comprises the following allocation:VEGA Policy Benchmark is a blended benchmark of 37.5% MSCI World Index, 37.5% CBOE S&P 500 Buy/Write Index and 25% to the Barclays Intermediate Government Corporate Index.

Portfolio Review

VEGA posted a positive return of 2.25% during July. The indexes that make up the VEGA ETF Policy Benchmark were all positve during the month of July. CBOE S&P 500 BuyWrite Index increased by 2.93% during July. Bloomberg Barclays Intermediate U.S. Gov/Credit Bond was only slightly positive, up just 0.03%. MSCI AC World Index was up the most with a gain of 3.12% in July.

For the month, VEGA’s Policy Benchmark was also down 2.28%.

Winners

July was an impressive month for several of VEGA’s underlying holdings. 6 of VEGA’s holdings were up more than 1% in the month of July, here are the top performers in descending order:

Financial Select Sector SPDR Fund

XLF

5.11%

SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust

SPY

3.70%

xTrackers MSCI Europe Hedged Equity ETF

DBEU

3.63%

iShares MSCI EAFE ETF

EFA

2.85%

iShares Russell 2000 ETF

IWM

1.65%

Invesco Fundamental High Yield Corporate Bond ETF

PHB

1.46%

 
Laggards
 
While nothing contributed negatively in July, the two holdings that under performed compared to the rest of the group were SPDR Doubleline Total Return Tactical (TOTL) and Vanguard Intermediate-Term Bond (BIV), which only contributed 0.01% and 0.06%, respectively.
 
Top 10 Holdings
 
Stock Ticker Security Description Portfolio Weight %
SPY SPDR S&P 500 ETF TRUST 51.38%
EFA ISHARES MSCI EAFE ETF 8.93%
Cash BLACKROCK LIQUIDITY T 60 6.78%
IWM ISHARES RUSSELL 2000 ETF 6.39%
DBEU XTRACKERS MSCI EUROPE HEDGED EQUITY ETF 4.78%
PHB INVESCO FUNDAMENTAL HIGH YIELD CORPORATE BOND ETF 4.63%
TOTL SPDR DOUBLELINE TR TACT ETF 4.63%
BIV VANGUARD INTERMEDIATE-TERM B 4.57%
XLF FINANCIAL SELECT SECTOR SPDR FUND 3.97%
VNQ VANGUARD REAL ESTATE ETF 2.82%
CWB SPDR BLOOMBERG BARCLAYS CONVERTIBLE SECURITIES ETF 1.97%

Activity

VEGA continued writing Out-Of-Money Calls on SPY, EEM and EFA, which continues to provide a buffer to the decline of the underlying securities and the ability to earn higher premiums due to increased volatility. The increased premiums also help when we deem Protective Puts too expensive to purchase.

Outlook

The U.S. economy continued to expand thanks in part to ever-solid payroll growth, a revival of consumer spending, buoyant sentiment surveys and advanced purchases of items marked for tariffs should trade skirmishes assume more destructive escalations. Despite warnings by the International Monetary Fund that a trade war could cost the global economy some $430 billion, U.S. companies continued to report robust earnings reports even as European economies and markets extended their retrenchment. China turned to currency devaluation to warm over its economy as well as to protect its flank should it find itself in a serious confrontation with Washington over trade.

Markets

In the wake of the Fed’s July Federal Open Market Committee meeting, Morgan Stanley anticipated an additional hike in September followed by a pause in December “as policy hits neutral territory and concerns over financial conditions grow.” It also forecast a more hawkish posture next year with three additional hikes in response to low unemployment rate and above-potential GDP. The Fed expressed a bias toward “continued gradually raising the target range for the federal funds rate to a setting … above their estimates of its longer-run level by 2019 or 2020," according to Morgan Stanley.

The New York and Atlanta Feds reported that its Underlying Inflation Gauge (UIG) is diverging significantly from traditional indexes this year. According to the UIG's most recent measure, broad inflation came in at a sizzling 3.27%, the highest reading since September 2005. That compares with just 2.8% annual inflation, according to the Labor Department’s CPI, and the more modest 2.0% as measured by the preferred Personal Consumption Expenditure gauge of Fed policy makers.

Stocks held up well in July amid a robust earnings season and despite a rout of tech shares late in the month. FactSet reported that enough S&P companies were poised to log positive EPS to constitute the largest percentage on a quarterly basis since the data house began tracking this metric in Q3 2008. Overall, companies beat robust analyst estimates by an average of 2.5% and nearly three-quarters of listed companies reported sales above estimates. Meanwhile, profit margins among S&P companies for the quarter, at nearly 12.0%, tied net profit margin growth for the previous three-month period, itself the highest net profit margin for the S&P since FactSet began tracking this data in Q3 2008.

A FactSet industry analyst concluded that the S&P 500 would rise by 13.0% in price over the next 12 months – in stark contrast to Guggenheim CIO Scott Minerd’s July 10 Twitter declaration that “Markets are crazy to ignore the risks and consequences of a trade war,” adding “the stock rally is the last hurrah!” His warning followed a similar Cassandra cry by Morgan Stanley strategist Michael Zezas. Asserting that Trump administration standoffs are not bluffs but an expression of policy, Zezas disparaged what he wrote was the opening salvo of "an escalatory cycle of protectionist actions, that shouldn’t be ignored."

Morgan Stanley forecasts a significant market correction. "The bottom line for us is that we think the selling has just begun and this correction will be the biggest since the one we experienced in February,” the investment bank wrote to clients July 30. The investment bank also predicted the yield curve will invert by the middle of next year, though it stopped short of forecasting a recession, MarketWatch reported.

Investors and policy makers watched with trepidation in mid-June as the Treasury yield curve from 5 to 30 years flattened to levels last seen in August 2007. The New York Times, citing research from the San Francisco Fed, noted that every recession of the past 60 years has been preceded by an inverted yield curve.

Undaunted, Fed officials committed themselves to four interest rate increases in 2018, up one from their March outlook. Investors took it in stride, scooping up some $14 billion worth of 30-month bonds at a yield of 3.10%. As ZeroHedge put it, “Overall, a quick and relatively painless sale in just 48 hours, to a market which despite rising rates, continues to be quite receptive to all the issuance the US government can throw at it.”

According to Bank of America Merrill Lynch however, this may be the calm before the storm. The market, it argued in a note, is still in an orderly "intermediate phase" as interest rates, credit spreads and volatility pivot to reflect a tighter credit environment. “If quantitative easing created an era of lower interest rates, tighter credit spreads and suppressed volatility, the bank warned, quantitative tightening … will lead to the opposite - i.e. higher interest rates, wider credit spreads and very volatile market conditions.” The bank added that global QE has rapidly declined on a year-over-year basis, a trend accelerated by a strong dollar it regards as “destructive to asset values that thrive on liquidity expansion.”

Speaking of trade, The Wall Street Journal implied that U.S. small-cap stocks, having over-performed for months on the strength of perceived insulation from trade tensions, may have peaked. Having sucked up $4 billion in investment capital in May and June, the sector has recently been cited for overstretched valuations and unearthed negative exposure to trade.

Bloomberg noted that the CBOE Skew Index, which tracks the cost of tail-risk equity protection, has jumped to the highest level since October. The rise signals that options traders are growing wary of wild swings, just as the International Monetary Fund warned that financial markets seem complacent to mounting risks in the global economy.

Inspired by a dramatic sell-off of tech stocks led by Facebook, Zero Hedge published the most memorable financial-press headline so far this year: TECH WRECK PUKES $350 BILLION IN 3 DAYS AS FANGOVER BITES.

U.S. Economy

The economy grew at a robust 4.1% rate in the second quarter, the fastest pace in almost four years, while first-quarter growth was revised upward, to 2.2% from 2.0%. Economists cited the continued stimulative impact of tax cuts, as well as forward purchases of goods considered exposed to tariffs in the event of a trade war.

According to the WSJ, U.S. laborers are choosing to leave their jobs at the fastest rate since the internet boom 17 years ago and are getting rewarded for it with higher salaries and/or more satisfying work. The WSJ reported workers have been made more confident by a strong economy and historically low unemployment, currently at 3.8% in May, the lowest since 2000.

Retail sales surged ahead in June, by 0.5%, while sales in May were revised higher to 1.3%, the largest monthly advance since September 2017. In another indicator of buoyant consumption, the Freight Transportation Services Index rose by 6.4%, its third new high in the past four months.

The American Association of Individual Investors weighed in with a widely positive sentiment survey, notching individual investor sentiment up 15% percentage points to 43.1%. The survey results followed the near-record high in the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) Small Business Optimism Index as well as the University of Michigan Sentiment Index, which posted a record high among pre-financial crisis readings.

The home-construction market continued to disappoint as the number of new permits in June dropped by 2.2% on a month-to-month and housing starts continued to slide, by 12.3% MoM. It was the 3rd month of declining permits in a row and biggest drop in starts since November 2016 as increasing interest rates impact markets

In a note, Investing Haven suggested that commodity prices are being influenced by a strong dollar – a process that could hasten inflation rates - though it allowed that it may be too early to regard this as a trend. “There are attempts of the USD to break out but there is also rejection at breakout,” according to its research. ”It is wise to wait for a confirmation of the next trend in the dollar.”

Reuters reported that U.S. loan funds in July posted outflows for the first time in nearly five months. The reversal of some $184 million was attributed to market volatility triggered by tensions in global trade that reduced investors’ appetite for risk assets, Reuters said.

International

The International Monetary Fund warned that rising trade tensions between the United States and many of its commercial partners could cost the global economy $430 billion with America “especially vulnerable” to an escalating tariff war. The Washington-based organization said the current threats made by the U.S. and its trading partners risked lowering global growth by as much as 0.5% by 2020, or about $430 billion in lost GDP worldwide.

On the data front, European PMIs were mixed, with the flash composite reading for July coming lighter than expected at 54.3.  “Although the rate of growth remained relatively robust in July,” Markit noted, “weakened new order inflows and reduced business expectations of future activity added to the downbeat picture.” Meanwhile, retail sales in Europe were unchanged in May at 0.1%, while sales were up 1.4% on a year-over-year basis. According to Eurostat, the highest gains by country were Portugal (+4.7%), Latvia (+3.4%) and Slovenia (3.1%).

In a media call, European Central Banker head Mario Draghi turned sharply dovish, according to Zero Hedge, acknowledging that the European Union headline inflation, now hovering at around 2.0%, may not be sustained. “If you look at inflation excluding oil and food, it's now 0.9% from 1.1% last time. And the underlying inflation remains muted. So we are seeing encouraging signs here and there [but] it's very early to call victory." Both the euro and Bund yields tumbled in response.

Viktor Shvets, head of Asia strategy at Macquarie Commodities and Global Markets, expressed solidarity with troubled emerging markets in the face of the Fed’s Quantitative Easing. Shvets told Bloomberg TV the Fed’s program to reduce its debt stocks “is destroying money, destroying roughly $50 billion every month." The Fed will ultimately back down, said Shvets, “because the global economy cannot withstand monetary tightening, and will in coming months force a halt to the campaign."

Cantor Fitzgerald warned of a slide in the Chinese Yuan - “like a sword in the tariff fight” - as it can handily offset the impact of any tariffs imposed. Dismissing market talk China would hold the line at 6.70, Cantor admonished investors to “think back to 2015, when the Yuan was at the center of a storm of global market volatility into early 2016” as a reminder of Beijing’s staying power when it comes to currency depreciation.

 

Very Truly Yours,

David YoungDavid Young, CIO of Partnervest Advisory Services

Portfolio Manager of VEGA


 

 
Information is from sources deemed to be reliable, but accuracy is not guaranteed.
*Performance and pricing data used for VEGA ETF is based on the indicated value of the ETF at the close of the day.
 

Before investing you should carefully consider the Fund’s investment objectives, risks, charges and expenses. This and other information is in the prospectus and summary prospectus which can be obtained by visiting www.advisorshares.com. Please read the prospectus and summary prospectus carefully before you invest. Foreside Fund Services, LLC, distributor.

There is no guarantee that the Fund will achieve its investment objective. An investment in the Fund is subject to risk, including the possible loss of principal amount invested. Other Fund risks included: allocation risk; derivative risk; early closing risk; Exchange Traded Note risk; liquidity risk, market risk; trading risk; commodity risk; concentration risk; counterparty risk; credit risk; emerging markets and foreign securities risk; foreign currency risk; large-, mid- and small- cap stock risk. Please see the prospectus for detailed information regarding risk. The Fund is also subject to options risk. Writing and purchasing call and put options are specialized activities and entail greater than ordinary investment risk. The value of the Fund’s positions in options fluctuates in response to the changes in value of the underlying security. The Fund also risks losing all or part of the cash paid for purchasing call and put options. The Fund may not be suitable for all investors.

Shares are bought and sold at market price (closing price) not NAV and are not individually redeemed from the Fund. Market price returns are based on the midpoint of the bid/ask spread at 4:00 pm Eastern Time (when NAV is normally determined), and do not represent the return you would receive if you traded at other times. Holdings and allocations are subject to risks and to change. The views in this commentary are those of the portfolio manager and may not reflect his views on the date this material is distributed or anytime thereafter.

The views in this material were those of the Portfolio Manager and may not reflect his views on the date this material is distributed or anytime thereafter. These views are intended to assist shareholders in understanding their investments and do not constitute investment advice.

Definitions:

The Cboe S&P 500 BuyWrite Index (BXM) is a benchmark index designed to track the performance of a hypothetical buy-write strategy on the S&P 500 Index.

The MSCI World Index is a market cap weighted index which captures large and mid cap representation across 23 Developed Markets countires.

The Barclays Capital U.S. Intermediate Government Bond Index measures the performance of U.S. Dollar denominated investment grade U.S. corporate securities that have a remaining maturity of greater than one year and less than ten years.

The Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) is an indicator of the economic health of the manufacturing sector. The PMI is based on five major indicators: new orders, inventory levels, production, supplier deliveries and the employment environment.

An option is a privilege, sold by one party to another that gives the buyer the right, but not the obligation, to buy (call) or sell (put) a stock at an agreed upon price within a certain period or on a specific date. An option premium is income received by an investor who sells or “writes” an option contract to another party. A covered call option involves holding a long position in a particular asset, in this case shares of an ETP, and writing a call option on that same asset with the goal of realizing additional income from the option premium. A put option is a contract that gives the owner of the option the right to sell a specified amount of the asset underlying the option at a specified price within a specified time. A protective put is an option strategy which entails buys shares of a security and, at the same time, enough put options to cover those shares. This can act as a hedge on the invested security, since matching puts with shares of the stock can limit the downside (due to the nature of puts). Exercising an option means to put into effect the right specified in a contract.