Ivy ProShares Russell 2000 Dividend Growers Index Fund

Ivy ProShares Russell 2000 Dividend Growers Index Fund
06.30.18

Market Sector Update

  • After a flat start of the year, U.S. small-cap stocks came to life in the second quarter, returning 7.8%, as measured by the Russell 2000 Index, representative of the small- and mid-cap broad market.
  • The performance of small-cap names was significantly better than returns for large- and mid-cap stocks during the period.
  • Investor concerns over the potential impacts of foreign tariffs helped buoy smaller cap stocks, which derive a majority of their revenues domestically.
  • Another factor supporting small cap returns was another solid quarter of earnings reports, and investors anticipate tax reform to continue this trend.

Portfolio Strategy

  • A passively managed index fund, the Fund underperformed its benchmark, the Russell 2000 Dividend Growth Index, and its broad market target for the quarter.
  • When comparing the benchmark to the broad market target, the sector allocation contributed to underperformance, which was partially offset by favorable stock screening.
  • The largest detractors to performance came from the consumer discretionary, energy and telecommunication services sectors. The Fund holds no energy names, which detracted from relative performance as energy was the best performing sector for the quarter.
  • Partially offsetting these results were favorable stock screening in the financials, industrials and utilities sectors.

Outlook

  • The Fund’s portfolio remains focused exclusively on companies within the Russell 2000 Index that have grown their dividends for at least 10 consecutive years. While not necessarily providing the highest dividend yield, a strategy based on high-quality companies with a consistent track record of dividend growth provides the potential for attractive longterm outperformance.
  • Our outlook on economic expansion and corporate earnings growth remains fairly positive barring a major unforeseen event. We are cautiously optimistic about equities, which should be buoyed by good overall growth and a lack of substantial disruptions. Broadly, we believe the strong inertia to equities will continue.
  • The lower corporate tax rate could allow for additional capital expenditures by businesses and potentially create a boost in optimism that could fuel a virtuous cycle of greater investment that buoys business confidence, which in turn leads to even more investment.

The opinions expressed are those of the Fund’s managers and are not meant as investment advice or to predict or project the future performance of any investment product. The opinions are current through June 30, 2018, are subject to change at any time based on market and other current conditions, and no forecasts can be guaranteed. This commentary is being provided as a general source of information and is not intended as a recommendation to purchase, sell, or hold any specific security or to engage in any investment strategy. Investment decisions should always be made based on an investor’s specific objectives, financial needs, risk tolerance and time horizon. Past performance is not a guarantee of future results.

The Fund is a passively managed index fund and does not invest in securities based on the managers’ view of the investment merit of a particular security or company, nor does it conduct conventional investment research or analysis or forecast market movement or trends, in managing the assets of the Fund. The Fund seeks to remain fully invested at all times in securities that, in combination, provide exposure to the Index without regard to market conditions, trends or direction.

The Fund entails other risks, including imperfect benchmark correlation and market price variance that may decrease performance. While the Fund attempts to track the performance of its stated index, there is no guarantee or assurance that the methodology used to create the Index will result in the Fund achieving high, or even positive, returns. The Index may underperform, and the Fund could lose value, while other indices or measures of market performance increase in value. An investment in the Fund is not a bank deposit and is not insured or guaranteed by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation or any other government agency. These and other risks are more fully described in the Fund’s prospectus. Not all funds or fund classes may be offered at all broker/dealers.

The Russell 2000 Dividend Growth Index measures the performance of Russell 2000 companies that have increased dividends every year for the last 10 consecutive years. The Index treats each constituent as a distinct investment opportunity without regard to its size by equally weighting each company. It is not possible to invest directly in an index.

Risk factors: The value of the Fund’s shares will change, and you could lose money on your investment. Small capitalization companies in which the Index and, by extension, the Fund are exposed may go in and out of favor based on market and economic conditions. The Fund’s emphasis on dividend-paying stocks involves the risk that such stocks may fall out of favor with investors and underperform non-dividend paying stocks and the market as a whole over any period of time. In addition, there is no guarantee that the companies in which the Fund invests will declare dividends in the future or that dividends, if declared, will remain at current levels or increase over time. The amount of any dividend the company may pay may fluctuate significantly. In addition, the value of dividend-paying common stocks can decline when interest rates rise as fixed-income investments become more attractive to investors. This risk may be greater due to the current period of historically low interest rates.