If you ask fund managers whether or not a portfolio of stocks with no active management can beat a fund with active management the answers are likely to vary widely. While it is true that most fund managers do not out pace the performance of their benchmark indices the concept of combing the low fee model of exchange traded funds (ETFs) with an active management component has drawn the attention from investors. (Read more about the difference in Active Vs. Passive Investing In ETFs.)
Earlier this year Invesco Powershares Capital Management LLC introduced four actively managed ETFs:
Powershares Active Alpha Q (AMEX:PQY)
PQY is heavily weighted in IT hardware and software along with business and financial services. Its top three holdings include wireless provider NII Holdings (Nasdaq:NIHD), India's IT consulting firm Infosys Technologies Ltd. (Nasdaq:INFY), and oil and gas service company Foster Wheeler, Ltd. (Nasdaq:FWLT).
Powershares Active Mega Cap (AMEX:PMA)
PMA's largest sector weightings are in healthcare, energy, IT hardware and software. Its top three holdings are familiar names including Exxon Mobil (NYSE:XOM), Microsoft (Nasdaq:MSFT) and Pfizer (NYSE:PFE).
Powershares Active Alpha Multi-Cap (AMEX:PQZ)
PQZ's largest sector weightings are in energy and industrial materials followed by IT hardware and healthcare. Its top three holdings include iron ore miner Cleveland-Cliffs Inc. (NYSE:CLF), oil and gas companies PetroQuest Energy Inc. (NYSE:PQ) and W&T Offshore Inc. (NYSE:WTI). Approximately 26% of its portfolio is invested in foreign stocks.
Cleveland-Cliffs deserves a spotlight given the strong global demand for iron and its 2-for-1 stock split this past May. The company reported record revenues of $1.5 billon for the first six months of the year. Its record revenues were also driven by new business from coal mining operations in the U.S. and Australia. Cleveland-Cliffs stock price has more than doubled in the last nine months.
Short Timers Returns Inconclusive
PLK's concentration of fixed income securities has kept it from falling along with the rest of the market. PQZ's focus on industrials has made it the second best performer in the group while being down nearly 4% year to date. While technology still struggles to regain its form displayed early this decade technology heavy PQY is trailing the pack. Investors will have to watch and see if the fund managers new roles in managing ETFs can yield consistent index beating returns.
For more on ETFs, check out the complete tutorial Exchange-Traded Funds (ETFs).