Classifying stocks as either growth or value is one of the oldest and most studied fundamental investment pillars. This process traditionally involves the analysis of various balance sheet statistics to determine a company’s intrinsic net worth relative to its peers and historical benchmarks.
Being that “value” is such a sought-after characteristic, it’s no surprise that over 50 exchange-traded funds are dedicated to the pursuit. The largest of which include the iShares Russell 1000 Value Index (ETF) (NYSEARCA:IWD) and the Vanguard Value ETF (NYSEARCA:VTV).
Both funds offer a highly diverse pool of stocks culled from well-known indexes with extremely low fees. If there is a criticism to be made of these exchange-traded funds, it’s that they are possibly too diverse and constructed using overly simplistic methods.
This may fail to resonate with investors who truly worship at the altar of fundamental analysis.
Value purists may ultimately scoff at the likes of VTV and iShares S&P 500 Value Index (ETF) (NYSEARCA:IVE) in favor of deeper analysis and a smaller pool of stocks with the capability to show off what this factor is all about. Fortunately, there are several ETFs that bring the true spirit of value investing back to its roots.
Value ETFs: ValueShares U.S. Quantitative Value ETF (QVAL)
ValueShares U.S. Quantitative Value ETF (BATS:QVAL) is the flagship fund of Alpha Architect, an independent ETF sponsor created by Wesley Gray PhD and Jack Vogel PhD. Both gentlemen have forgotten more about fundamental value characteristics than I will ever be able to remember. As such, they are a perfect team to construct a quantitatively driven portfolio of stocks by identifying attractive fundamental criteria.
QVAL is an index-based ETF with just 40 holdings that are roughly equal-weighted in the portfolio structure. This allows for each stock to have a similar contribution to the total return of the fund rather than giving larger companies the lion’s share of the assets.
To be included in the QVAL portfolio, stocks must meet forensic accounting, valuation, and quality screens to ensure minimum requirements are met. Well-known holdings include General Motors (NYSE:GM), Lear Corp (NYSE:LEA) and Target Corporation (NYSE:TGT).
This ETF is on the eve of celebrating its third birthday and charges an expense ratio of 0.79% for ongoing management of the strategy. It’s also notable that QVAL shares a similar philosophy with its foreign stock equivalent in the ValueShares International Quantitative Value ETF (BATS:IVAL) as well.
Value ETFs: Guggenheim S&P 500 Pure Value ETF (RPV)
Click to Enlarge Any fund with the phrase “pure value” in its title is tailor-made for this list. Guggenheim Invest S&P 500 Pure Value ETF (NYSEARCA:RPV) is an index-based ETF that owns around 100 value stocks culled from the broader S&P 500 Index. What makes this fund unique is that it puts a more stringent valuation screen to the broader universe to rule out blended or ambiguous style approaches.
Another feature of the RPV portfolio is that it weights holdings according to the highest value scores. This creates a stronger influence of larger and more stable companies such as Berkshire Hathaway Inc (NYSE:BRK.B) and Centene Corp (NYSE:CNC).
RPV has been in existence for over a decade now and has accumulated nearly $900 million in assets. The fund also charges a very reasonable expense ratio of 0.35%.
This type of fund may appeal to value enthusiasts as either a core holding or a tactical position to strategically target fundamental criteria. This same overarching theme is available in both small and mid-cap flavors as well via the Guggenheim S&P Smallcap 600 Pure Value ETF (NYSEARCA:RZV) and Guggenheim S&P Midcap 400 Pure Value ETF (NYSEARCA:RFV).
Value ETFs: Cambria Global Value ETF (GVAL)
Click to Enlarge Cambria Global Value ETF (NYSEARCA:GVAL) is a far different type of index fund, with a high degree of emphasis on foreign holdings. The fund has quickly grown to one of the largest in the Cambria stable by selecting stocks showing strong value characteristics across a universe of 45 countries. This includes both developed and emerging market exposure to provide a truly global exposure profile.
The fund currently holds just over 140 stocks with a high degree of concentration in Austria, Portugal, Russia and Greece according to the recent fact sheet. This list is loaded with countries that experienced difficult periods in recent years and have recently become popular with the strong trend in emerging market equities.
The GVAL screening criteria is such that it will often weight out-of-favor stocks with attractive fundamentals given the expectation of stronger future returns. This can potentially lead to above-average volatility, but also a unique return profile that may fit well as a slice of international stock exposure.
GVAL carries an expense ratio of 0.69% and pays quarterly dividends to its shareholders.
David Fabian is Managing Partner and Chief Operations Officer of FMD Capital Management. Michael Fabian is Managing Partner and Chief Investment Officer of FMD Capital Management. To get more investor insights from FMD Capital, visit their blog. Click here to download their latest special report, The Strategic Approach to Income Investing. Learn More: Why I love ETFs, And You Should Too