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DWSH: July 2019 Portfolio Manager Review

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 standardized and month-end performance, please click


The AdvisorShares Dorsey Wright Short ETF (Ticker: DWSH) is built on the relative strength testing that Dorsey Wright has been doing for over almost two decades. Rather than investing in those companies that are exhibiting the strongest relative strength, we identify the bottom tier or laggards and short those stocks.  Shorting using relative strength is by no means a new idea. When reading academic literature on momentum from the past 40 years, the idea of buying the past winners and shorting the losers is often found to be a sensible allocation.

Our vision for utilizing the strategy is twofold. First, it can be used as a hedge against downside US equity volatility, helping to reduce the volatility of the portfolio by pairing DWSH with a traditional long portfolio. The second is using the strategy as an alpha bet during period of market distress. During periods of high dispersion among securities, there are well-defined winners and losers. Rather than buying a broad short of the whole market, we systematically invest in companies that are identified to be weak and have a greater chance, in our opinion, of dropping more than the other companies in the universe.  


July was another positive month for the strategy as we saw markets discern between winners and losers. The dispersion in the market favored the high relative strength names and punished the laggards that the portfolio shorts, allowing the strategy to post a positive return that was in line with the S&P 500 for the month. July was an example of the difference between a short portfolio like DWSH and an Inverse fund that mirrors the broad index. “Traditional” inverse fund were down for the month in response to a positive month in U.S. equity markets, while DWSH saw positive alpha from our selective shorting of relative strength laggards.


Currently the portfolio is comprised of 101 companies spread across the major macro sectors. This number will fluctuate over time as positions grow to a larger allocation of the portfolio and as securities are replaced in our sell process. As securities are removed from the portfolio, the new purchases will be allocated at roughly equal weight, depending on the cash level. Over the past several months we have seen several names continue to grow in our holdings as the markets continue to hold the companies in an unfavorable light.  This month the top holdings did not represent the largest positive contributors to performance, instead we saw a number of our smaller allocations push the portfolio further.

Top Holdings

Ticker Security Description Portfolio Weight %

As of 07.31.2019.

Small capitalization companies which currently represent approximately 9.5% of the portfolio had the largest positive contribution along with mid-sized companies, helping to balance out the modest performance drag created by the portfolios larger companies. The mixed performance spilled over to the portfolio’s sector exposure as well, with the majority of smaller sector allocations providing the largest source of positive attribution.


Currently Consumer Cyclicals and Energy are the largest sector holdings in the portfolio, with Utilities and Telecommunications representing a very small allocation.

As of 07.31.2019.

Portfolio Changes

This allocation has shifted from month to month as the market digests new information and leadership or laggards become further defined. This month the portfolio’s holdings continued to be on trend and we had a low number of trades, allowing the over allocation to remain relatively unaffected. The largest changes happened in Industrials which saw outflows and Consumer Cyclicals which saw inflows.

As of 07.31.2019.


John G. Lewis
Nasdaq Dorsey Wright
AdvisorShares Dorsey Wright Wright Short ETF (DWSH) Portfolio Manager


Past Manager Commentary

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

The Fund is subject to a number of risks that may affect the value of its shares, including the possible loss of principal. Short sales are transactions in which the Fund sells a security it does not own. To complete the transaction, the Fund must borrow the security to make delivery to the buyer. The Fund is then obligated to replace the security borrowed by purchasing the security at the market price at the time of replacement. If the underlying security goes down in price between the time the Fund sells the security and buys it back, the Fund will realize a gain on the transaction. Conversely, if the underlying security goes up in price during the period, the Fund will realize a loss on the transaction. Any such loss is increased by the amount of premium or interest the Fund must pay to the lender of the security. Likewise, any gain will be decreased by the amount of premium or interest the Fund must pay to the lender of the security. Because a short position loses value as the security’s price increases, the loss on a short sale is theoretically unlimited. Short sales involve leverage because the Fund borrows securities and then sells them, effectively leveraging its assets. The use of leverage may magnify gains or losses for the Fund. As with any fund, there is no guarantee that the Fund will achieve its investment objective.

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. These views are intended to assist shareholders in understanding their investments and do not constitute investment advice.