What You Might Have Missed at Yesterday’s Equity Symposium

Yesterday’s Equity Symposium brought together industry thought leaders. Attendees were treated to actionable information. Additionally, the panels presented cutting-edge thinking around equities. It was truly a can’t-miss experience. In the event you did miss it, however, we’ve got you covered. Here’s what happened.

Large-Cap Dominance

Fidelity’s Sonu Kalra and VanEck’s Coulter Regal kicked off the event by digging into large-cap opportunities. The first poll of the event showed 60% of the respondents anticipate a bullish end to the year for equities. Correspondingly, rate hikes are expected to come to an end.

Of course, questions remain around equity performance due to a majority of it being driven by “the Magnificent Seven.” These seven stocks make up one-fourth of the S&P 500 market cap. Concurrently, they account for roughly two-thirds of its performance in 2023.

Active Management Gets Its Due at the Equity Symposium

There is concentration risk in the U.S. stock market right now. Accordingly, the second session focused on active management. Active ETFs have garnered roughly one-third of year-to-date flows, according to Todd Sohn, director of Strategas Securities Technical Analysis team.

Active managers have a unique ability to sidestep concentration risk rapidly. In comparison, passive strategies often require investment committees to meet before making changes.

Strategic Sector Allocation

​Denise Chisholm, director of Quantitative Market Strategy at Fidelity, and Mac Sykes, a portfolio manager at Gabelli Funds, discussed some of the most appealing sectors to them as 2023 closes. Chisholm highlighted the consumer discretionary sector as a sector she is paying attention to. She emphatically believes that there is a lot of opportunity in that sector. Sykes and his firm are looking at financial services. They are seeing investors coming circling back to this sector.

The Equity Symposium Looks at Dividends

Dividends have been critical for the defensive portion of portfolios in recent years. However, this year has seen their performance drop. Amplify CEO Christian Magoon noted that despite some bright spots in energy and materials, “broad-based, it hasn’t been as great a year.” Franklin Templeton’s Todd Mathias agreed, but pointed out that dividend funds are seeing year-over-year inflows, largely due to valuations.

Mathias also highlighted the consistent year-over-year inflows to international dividend products he has seen. Magoon mentioned funds that are in the energy and materials space have been a bright spot for dividend funds this year.