Real estate exchange traded funds (ETFs) allow investors to buy shares and receive dividend distributions based on their investment. This provides a unique angle to real estate investing, which often uses leverage, whereby a buyer borrows against most of a property’s value to gain income from the property, even though the buyer only put part of the money into the property.
A real estate ETF, on the other hand, invests in several real estate companies simultaneously, versus the individual investor buying and betting on one property. Because the investor does not have to borrow money to buy the real estate, there is no debt to repay.
Investopedia has selected the following real estate ETFs as the top five ETFs that allow investors to get into real estate without having to be a landlord or a partner in an investment group. The top five real estate ETFs are based on assets under management as of July 17, 2017.
They are listed from largest to smallest. The investment approaches of each fund were evaluated so investors can compare styles and results.
1. Vanguard REIT ETF (VNQ)
VNQ’s main goal is high income. Investors can also experience growth in the value of their investment, but that is secondary. VNQ tracks an index that measures the performance of real estate investment trusts (REITs).
The REITs’ specific stocks are part of the MSCI U.S. REIT Index. The holdings get weighted in a manner similar to the index’s weightings.
This ETF is by far the largest real ETF, with over $30 billion in assets, and one of the cheapest, with an expense ratio of 0.12%, according to Morningstar.
VNQ tracks a broad index that captures a large portion of the U.S. real estate market, according to ETF.com. The market cap allocations reflect those of ETF.com’s neutral benchmark. It only deviates in the persistent sector bias away from specialized REITs in favor of commercial ones.
VNQ offers massive assets and is extremely cheap to hold, according to ETF.com. Its portfolio management has brought the cost of owning VNQ even lower than its stated expense ratio.
The only downside is that Vanguard discloses holdings monthly rather than daily. This, however, is true for most low-turnover funds, and not important to many investors.
VNQ trades high volumes daily with penny-wide spreads. Distributions from he fund get taxed as ordinary income, as with peer REIT ETFs.
ETF.com gives VNQ an “Analyst Pick” in a crowded field for solid coverage at very low all-in costs.
• Avg. Volume: 4,206,246
• Net Assets: $63.32 billion
• PE Ratio (TTM): 7.48
• Yield: 4.43%
• YTD Return: 2.55%
• Expense Ratio (net): 0.12%
2. iShares U.S. Real Estate ETF (IYR)
Investors in IYR seek results similar to shares in the Dow Jones U.S. Real Estate Index. IYR invests mostly in REITs and tries to keep 90% of its assets in securities that are in the index. Companies represented by those securities can be large, mid or small cap.
The percentage of assets in any particular size company relies on its underlying index. Money managers can adjust the mix to more closely reflect the benchmark’s performance.
IYR, one of the first U.S. real estate ETFs, remains a stalwart of the space, according to ETF.com. The fund tracks a broad real estate index and captures a large portion of the real estate space.
IYR holds about 100 companies, covering all the big names. Its performance and overall portfolio characteristics align well with ETF.com’s neutral benchmark.
IYR’s big asset base facilitates abundant liquidity — it is among the most traded real estate ETFs. The fund is, however, expensive to hold compared to peers that track similar indexes. Distributions from the fund are taxed as ordinary income.
IYR’s coverage of U.S. real estate in an ETF is tough to beat, according to ETF.com.
• Avg. Volume: 6,903,919
• Net Assets: $4.78 billion
• PE Ratio (TTM): 6.81
• Yield: 4.06%
• YTD Return: 5.61%
• Expense Ratio (net): 0.44%
3. iShares Cohen & Steers REIT ETF (ICF)
iShares Cohen & Steers seeks results similar to the Cohen & Steers Realty Majors Index. The index comprises REITs, in which the fund invests at least 90% of its assets, or in depositary receipts that represent the REITs. The fund seeks companies that can be acquired or that can acquire other companies as part of the real estate sector’s consolidation.
ICF is designed to capture the top end of the real estate market, offering the returns of the 30 largest players in the space, according to ETF.com. The concentrated, large-cap-oriented portfolio provides the lion’s share of its assets in just 10 names.
The limited scope of the fund also produces notable sub-sector tilts compared to ETF.com’s broad real estate benchmark. ICF is a big, well-run ETF with an extensive history and limited structural risks or tax surprises.
The fund’s expense ratio is on the high side, but its tight tracking and deep liquidity deliver reasonable costs. ICF overall makes good on its promise of access to the “realty majors,” even if it does not capture the complete flavor of the U.S real estate market.
• Avg. Volume: 214,214
• Net Assets: $3.25 billion
• PE Ratio (TTM): 12.87
• Yield: 3.85%
• YTD Return: 3.07%
• Expense Ratio (net): 0.35%
4. Schwab U.S. REIT ETF (SCHH)
SCHH mainly invests in REITs from the Dow Jones U.S. Select REIT Index, but can also invest in assets not included in the index. The REITs that are part of the index assigns weights similar to the index’s weightings.
The ETF tracks a market-cap-weighted index of EITs, excluding mortgage REITs and companies involved in real estate finance.
The Schwab US REIT ETF is among the strongest entries in the real estate ETF lineup and is a direct challenger to RWR, the real estate ETF behemoth, according to ETF.com. SCHH tracks the same index as RWR, but does so at a fraction of the holding cost.
With outstanding liquidity, the fund provides a low cost for a broad and diversified array of U.S. REITs. SCHH’s solid “Fit” score from ETF.com reflects its holdings, which mirror that of the U.S. real estate market, but with a bias to the core real estate sub-sectors of residential and commercial properties. For diverse real estate exposure at a low cost, SCHH provides one of the best options, particularly for long-term investors, according to ETF.com.
• Avg. Volume: 517,073
• Net Assets: $3.29 billion
• PE Ratio (TTM): N/A
• Yield: 2.64%
• YTD Return: -1.19%
• Expense Ratio (net): 0.07%
5. SPDR Dow Jones REIT ETF (RWR)
SPDR Dow Jones REIT ETF, on the largest real estate ETFs, uses the Dow Jones U.S. Select REIT Index as its benchmark. RWR money managers invest in securities whose valuations are closely tied to each company’s actual real estate holdings, and avoid those that are valued based on considerations other than their real estate.
The SPDR Dow Jones REIT ETF tracks a market cap weighted index of companies involved in the operation and ownership of residential, commercial, healthcare and other real estate.
RWR is one of the oldest real estate ETFs, according to ETF.com. Since 2001, it has offered investors a liquid and well managed vehicle to invest in a diverse, market-cap-weighted group of U.S. REITs.
The fund tilts away from “specialized REITs,” including everything from railway REITs and hospital REITs, and instead overweights the “quintessential” real estate sub-sectors, such as residential and commercial REITs. Hence, it could appeal to investors seeking a “pure play.”
RWR’s strategy has been a hit, drawing billions in assets, and in turn providing deep liquidity. Its only liability is the expense ratio, which is several times higher than that of its main competitor, SCHH, which tracks the same Dow Jones index.
While RWR offers solid coverage in a liquid and large package, cheaper options do exist for long-term holders.
• Avg. Volume: 184,200
• Net Assets: $3.03 billion
• PE Ratio (TTM): N/A
• Yield: 3.98%
• YTD Return: 1.12%
• Expense Ratio (net): 0.25%
The bottom line on REIT ETFs is that investors do not need to raise large down payments to get into real estate, thanks to ETFs. The ones listed above offer an opportunity to participate in the real estate market with no debt, rent collections, down payments, or property marketing.
The REITs hold numerous properties, and the funds hold numerous REITs, so investors can be protected from losses on account of any one property failure.
Featured image from Shutterstock.
These Stocks Have Bullish Chart Patterns
The S&P 500 had its second weekly closing above the 2500 levels. However, it formed a doji candlestick pattern on the weekly chart last week, which shows that the bulls and bears are in equilibrium.
- Though the S&P is losing momentum, it remains in an uptrend
- Buy MOG.A
- Buy SMMF
- Buy MODN
- Buy PSTG
While the bulls have not been able to sustain the momentum above 2500, the bears have not been able to sink the index. As long as the index trades above 2480, it remains bullish and we can expect select individual stocks to outperform.
It is difficult to call a top in the market. Therefore, until the market breaks down, we shall look for stocks that are likely to continue their uptrend.
However, as the markets are due for a correction, traders should reduce their position size to less than 50% of normal. As the market moves higher, the stop losses should be trailed higher to lock in the paper profits, because the market can turnaround quickly from these levels.
MOG.A – Buy 83.63, SL 76, Target 100
The stock has broken out to new lifetime highs with strength. We find a V-shaped recovery after the fall from the highs in October 2014. We believe that the stock has started a new uptrend and is likely to continue higher towards its first target objective of $100, though the pattern target is $120.
However, if the stock again falls below the breakout levels of $79, it will signal a failed breakout. Therefore, we shall keep a close stop loss to protect our position.
On the daily chart, we find that the stock is trading inside an ascending channel since February of last year. The stock has mostly traded close to the middle of the channel, barring two occasions.
Once, in November of last year, it attempted to breakout of the channel but failed. From there, it fell to the lower end of the channel by end-March of this year. The current leg of the up move is likely to carry the stock at least to the upper end of the channel, close to $90 levels, post which, it will either breakout of it or return to the middle of the channel and continue its uptrend.
As the stock is at lifetime highs, we shall buy it at the current levels and on any dips to $80. Our stop loss is $76, because we don’t want to hang on to the stock if it doesn’t sustain the new lifetime highs. Our profit objective is $100 and long-term objective is $120, as long as the stock sustains above the trendline support of the channel.
The risk on the trade is $7.63, whereas, the reward is $14, if the stock moves according to our expectations.
SMMF – Buy 25, SL 22, Target 30
The stock is in an uptrend because it continues to make higher highs and higher lows. It made a high of $30.06 in December of last year, after which it corrected sharply. However, the correction ended around the $20 levels, post which the stock remained range bound. Last week, the stock broke out of the range with force. We expect a retest of the highs once again.
The daily chart shows the momentum behind the stock. It has quickly risen from $22 to $25 levels. It has a small resistance at $27, post which it is likely to retest the highs. Therefore, we shall buy the stock at the current levels and on dips to $24 levels. Our SL will be $22. The risk is $3, whereas, the reward possibility is $5.
MODN – Buy 14.5, SL 12, Target 18.5
The stock had been range bound for the past four years. It has formed a nice base around the $7.5 to the $13 mark. Though the stock broke out of the range in May of this year, it could not rally higher. It remained stuck in a tight range for more than three months. However, last week, the stock broke out of the range, which should start a new uptrend in it. Our target objective is $18.5, which is equal to the depth of the range.
In end-May of last year, the stock had broken out of the range, however, it faced stiff resistance at the $14 levels, from where it turned down once again in early-August. From then to early-June of this year, the stock remained within the range.
This year, the stock broke out of the range in early-June, but could not gain momentum. It was stuck in a tight range for almost four months. However, on Thursday of last week, the stock broke out of the tight range and followed it up with further gains on Friday.
With the breakout above $14, the stock has started a new uptrend, which should carry it to $18.5 levels. Therefore, we can buy the stock at the current levels. Our bullishness will be invalidated if the stock falls below $12, which should be the stop loss. In this trade, the risk is $2.5, while the reward possibility is $4.
PSTG – Buy 15.65, SL 14, Target 20
The stock has been range bound between $9.65 and $15.15 since 2016. Last week, the stock broke out and closed above the range. We, therefore, expect the stock to start a new uptrend and move towards its target objective of $20. However, if the stock again falls back into the range, it will signal a failed breakout and it will invalidate our bullishness.
The stock broke out of the range on Thursday, however, it could not sustain the gains and closed at $15.02 levels. Nevertheless, on Friday, the stock again broke out of the overhead resistance, which shows the buying support for the stock at lower levels. The stock has a minor resistance at the $18 levels, post which it is likely to rally towards its pattern target of $20. However, if the stock again falls below the range, it will become negative. Therefore, we shall keep our stop loss at $14 levels. In this trade, we risk $1.65 to earn a possible reward of $4.35.
A Sweet Trade
Chocolates, the word itself is enough to elevate the mood because almost everyone loves them. Therefore, along with sweetening the taste buds, we have searched for a trade that is likely to sweeten the portfolio in the medium-term.
- Cocoa prices are quoting near multi-year lows due to over supply
- Demand for cocoa products, however, remains strong
- History shows that cocoa production is cyclic in nature
- The top two producers are taking steps to support prices and avoid a glut in the future
- The risk to reward ratio looks attractive for a long-term trade
Cocoa, the main ingredient in chocolate making is quoting near its yearly low. However, we believe that the bottom is in place and cocoa is likely to rally in the medium-term.
What are the uses of cocoa
Cocoa is derived from the cocoa bean and has a history of more than 5000 years. Cocoa is mainly used for making chocolates and its derivatives, something that everybody loves.
So, when cocoa is used for making such a popular product, why is its price quoting near yearly lows?
Price of every commodity is determined by the dynamics of demand and supply. In the case of cocoa, let’s see whether people have suddenly started disliking chocolates or are farmers growing cocoa in large quantities, causing a supply glut.
Chocolate consumption and cocoa production details
The retail consumption of chocolate confectionery globally has seen a gradual uptrend from about 6.946 million tons in 2012/2013 to about 7.3 million tons in 2015/2016. The growth is likely to continue and consumption is expected to reach 7.696 million tons by 2018/2019, according to Statista.com. Between 2007 to 2015, the chocolate market had a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of +2.3%, according to IndexBox.
Who were the major consumers?
In terms of total consumption, US is the clear leader followed by the UK and France. The world’s top two most populated nations, India and China are far behind. This shows that there is enough scope of growth.
But, is there any proof to show that chocolates have attracted new enjoyers other than the traditional consumers?
To understand this, let’s look at the per capita consumption.
Traditionally, Europe has been a large consumer of chocolates. In 2015, Switzerland was the global leader with a per capita consumption of 8.8 kilograms, closely followed by Germany at 8.4 kilograms. However, according to global market intelligence agency Mintel, sales were flat in the US, UK, Germany, and France between 2015 and 2016.
Nevertheless, while the traditional consumers are plateauing, new consumers are warming up to chocolates and its derivatives.
Russia’s cocoa consumption had an annual growth of 18.1% between 2007 and 2015, which has propelled its per capita consumption to 7.3 kilograms, the third highest in the world.
Similarly, the analysts now expect India to provide the next leg of growth. From 2015 to 2016, India’s chocolate confectionery in retail markets grew by 13%. It is not a one-off growth number because between 2011 to 2015, India recorded a CAGR of 19.9% and the growth is only expected to improve to a CAGR of 20.6% between 2016 to 2020, according to Mintel.
So, it is safe to assume that the growth in chocolate sales is likely to continue for the next few years. Now, let’s look at the supply picture.
Who are the major suppliers of cocoa in the world?
While cocoa consumption is a feature around the world, the production is concentrated in West Africa, which produces about 70% of the world’s cocoa. The world leader in production is Côte d’Ivoire, which alone produces about 30% of the total global production.
The next largest producer is Ghana, which accounts for above 20% of the world’s cocoa production. Third is Indonesia, which is comparatively a newcomer to the group. However, its farms are being infested by the ‘pod bearer insect’, which has resulted in poor roots and poor-quality cocoa bean, severely limiting their rise as a cocoa superpower.
Cocoa bean production over the past decade?
Similar to the consumption of chocolates, cocoa production has increased sharply over the past decade. However, the rise has not been constant. 2010/11 and 2013/14 were bumper years, which were followed by a dip in the following two years.
Including the forecast for 2016/17, there have been five years when production increased, while production fell in the other five years. Nevertheless, the percentage of rise during the up years has been greater than the fall during down years, therefore, production has more or less kept up pace with the increased consumption of cocoa-based products.
The cocoa market keeps shifting from surplus to deficit, as seen in the chart above. Therefore, it is safe to assume that the markets will again fall into a deficit, which will be bullish for cocoa prices. Let’s see the supply and consumption pattern for this year.
So, what is the latest demand and supply situation?
In 2016/17, the International Cocoa Organization expects the global production to increase sharply over 2015/2016, contributing to a global surplus of 371,000 tonnes. A bumper crop in West Africa is likely to keep prices depressed in the near term. Ivory Coast’s bean arrival at the ports from the start of the season to August 20, was 12.6% higher than the previous year.
As a result, Rabobank believes cocoa prices are unlikely to rally a lot above $2000 per MT in the short-term, however, they are bullish in the long-term due to increasing demand.
“The further we go in time, the more bullish our forecast gets,” said Carlos Mera, a commodities analyst with the bank, reports confectionerynews.
In September, the ICCO said: “Major chocolate manufacturers have generally reported improved sales volumes and the low international cocoa beans price is anticipated to encourage cocoa processing activities.”
The sales of candy in the US was up 1.4% year over year and the trend was showing signs of improvement, as the latest four weeks sales increased 2.8% year over year, according to IRI/Bloomberg Intelligence, the Morningstar reported on August 25.
Low prices are pinching the major producers
Ivory Coast and Ghana, which account for over 60% of the global supply of cocoa are struggling due to the fall in cocoa prices. Therefore, they plan to build warehouses to stock the beans during bumper crop season and release them in the market, according to the demand, thereby increasing their influence over cocoa pricing.
“Must we continue on this path, flooding the market with beans in abundance and driving down prices to the detriment of our economies and people? We don’t think so,” said Narcisse Sepy Yessoh, chief of staff to Ivory Coast Trade Minister Souleymane Diarrassouba, reports Reuters.
They have sought a loan of $1.2 billion from the African Development Bank for the above activity, which is likely to be approved by the end of this year and the stocking is likely to start in the 2018/2019 season.
This will put a floor beneath cocoa prices in the medium-term.
How does the technical picture look?
The long-term chart of cocoa futures shows a trading range between $1800 to $3400. This is a well-defined range. An attempt to breakout the range failed in 2011, similarly, attempts to breakdown of the range failed between May and July of this year.
The risk to reward ratio to play the range is attractive. We have a well-defined stop loss below the lows of the range, whereas, our target objective is a rally back to the upper end of the range. However, it will be difficult for the readers to hold cocoa futures for the long-term. Therefore, the next best way is to play it through the two available ETNs, NIB and CHOC.
As NIB is more liquid, we prefer to invest in it. Let’s look at its chart.
Unlike cocoa futures, NIB broke below the lows made in end-2011 and formed a new low at $21.17. It has formed a bearish descending triangle pattern, which will complete on a close below the $21.17 levels. Therefore, we shall initiate 50% of our trade when NIB breaks out of the triangle and 50% of the positions on dips. Let’s determine the specific levels from the daily charts.
NIB has fallen below the $22 levels four times since May of this year. The downtrend line has been a major hurdle to cross. On Friday, NIB again returned from the downtrend line. Therefore, if it again falls closer to $22 levels, a long position with 50% allocation can be initiated. The remaining 50% position can be initiated on a breakout of the descending triangle pattern. The positions can be closed if NIB breaks down and closes below 21 for three days in a row. Once NIB breaks out of $27 levels, its next technical target is $33, though its long-term target remains $45.
Stocks to buy for the short-term – September 05
The S&P 500 has bounced back sharply from its support levels of 2420 and is close to making new lifetime highs. The index is in a strong uptrend and has maintained its higher high and higher low formation. Therefore, we want to buy a few stocks with momentum, which are likely to offer us a good risk to reward ratio.
- The S&P continues to be in an uptrend and will gain further if it breaks out to new lifetime highs
- We want to capitalize on the momentum in the markets
- Buy stocks with a strong momentum in their favor with reliable chart patterns
- Buy BIIB
- Buy CRY
- Buy TD
- Buy BGNE
However, please keep the allocation size small because of the uncertainty about the market’s reaction following the North Korean nuclear test over the weekend. All these positions are speculative in nature, therefore, respect the stop losses and trail profits higher, as and when the stock moves in your favor. Please don’t take the trades if the S&P 500 falls more than 1% today.
Biogen Inc. – (NASDAQ: BIIB), Buy 321, SL 300, Target 376
BIIB had been in a strong uptrend from 2010 to March 2015. During that period, the stock rose from $40 to $442, a gain of more than 1000%. Since then, the stock has been in a correction, which ended just above the 61.8% Fibonacci retracement levels. Thereafter, the stock went into a consolidative phase for about a year.
Last week, the stock broke out of the range, which shows that the bulls have overpowered the bears in the near term and the stock is likely to resume its uptrend once again. Let’s determine its entry, stop loss and target levels from the daily chart.
BIIB has closed above the upper end of the range for two days in a row. Therefore, we expect it to now rally towards its target objective of $376. We can buy the stock at the current levels and keep a stop loss of $300, initially. We have kept a close stop loss because we don’t want to stick with the stock if it again falls back into the range. Please trail the stop higher once the stock moves in your favor. The stock has a good risk to reward ratio and is also backed by favorable news and strong results.
CryoLife – (NYSE: CRY), Buy 21.5, SL 18.5, Target 26
CRY had been stuck below the $16 levels for almost 14 years, before breaking out in August of last year. However, it could not sustain the highs and dropped back to $14 levels in April of this year. Nevertheless, since then, the stock staged a sharp comeback and had been hovering between the $18 to $20 levels for the past few weeks. Last week, the stock staged a sharp breakout above the $20 levels and is likely to rally higher, with no major resistance in sight. What are the critical levels to watch on it?
The stock has formed an inverse head and shoulders pattern, which is a bullish formation and it has a pattern target of $26. The stock can be purchased at the current levels and on any pullback towards the $20.2 levels. The stop loss can be kept at $18.5 levels, which is just below the lows formed on August 24. The risk is $3, whereas the minimum profit objective is $4.5 on each share.
Toronto-Dominion Bank – (NYSE: TD), Buy 54.5, SL 51, Target 61
TD has been in an uptrend since 2002 with major corrections in 2009 and 2015. The stock had been finding it difficult to breakout of $53.5 levels since 2014. Subsequently, the stock ended up forming a cup and handle pattern on the weekly charts. Last week, the stock broke out of the formation and has turned bullish. The long-term pattern target for the stock is $74. However, let’s check the short-term targets and entry point from the daily chart.
The stock gapped up on August 31 and broke out of the bullish cup and handle formation. It continued its journey northwards on Friday also. In the short-term, the stock is likely to rally to $61 levels. We can buy the stock at the current levels and keep a stop loss at $51, just below the moving averages. We risk $3.5 whereas our profit objective is $6 for every share.
Beigene – (NASDAQ: BGNE), Buy 75, SL 65, Target 95
BGNE had been trading in a range for most of last year. It gradually started moving higher in 2017 and spurted in June and July of this year. The stock went from under $40 to about $80 levels within six weeks. Since then, the stock had a shallow correction, which ended just above the 38.2% Fibonacci retracement levels. This shows the strength in the stock. If the stock can breakout to new lifetime highs, it can rally to $105 levels. However, we want to only capture the short-term momentum in the stock.
The stock had been stuck in a small range for the past few days, unable to cross above $72 levels. However, on Friday, the stock rallied sharply and broke out of the overhead resistance. It is now likely to move towards $80, which has been a major resistance twice in the past.
A breakout above $80 should see the stock gather momentum and surge ahead. Therefore, we want to take a preemptive trade with 50% allocation size at the current levels and buy the remaining once the stock breaks out of $80. The stop loss can be kept at $65. Our target objective is $95 in the short-term. Therefore, the risk is a total of $10 for a profit of $20 when purchased at $75. For the buy taken at $80, the risk is $15 for a profit of $15.
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