Ivy ProShares S&P 500 Bond Index Fund

Ivy ProShares S&P 500 Bond Index Fund
09.30.18

Market Sector Update

  • The U.S. Federal Reserve (Fed) raised the federal funds rate by 25 basis points (bps) in September —the eighth rate hike since 2015— bringing the key rate to a range of 2.00 – 2.25%. Inflation has picked up slightly, but is still in line with the Fed’s target of a 2% annual rate.
  • The ongoing trade disputes between the U.S. and key trading partners continued to be a headwind for U.S. Treasuries, with the 10-year U.S. Treasury ended the period at 3.06%, up 21 bps higher than the previous quarter.
  • The yield curve continued to tighten during the quarter, as yield spreads between the two-year and 10-year U.S. Treasuries closed the quarter at 25 bps.
  • Corporate spreads tightened during the quarter as the average option-adjusted spreads for investment grade corporate bonds closed by 16 bps.

Portfolio Strategy

  • A passively managed index fund, the Fund had a positive return against its benchmark, the S&P 500® / MarketAxess® Investment Grade Corporate Bond Index, for the quarter. Given spread changes along the curve, longer maturity corporate bonds outperformed shorter-dated bonds for the period.
  • All sectors were positive for the quarter. Telecommunication services, energy and consumer discretionary were the top performers, while the more defensive sectors of utilities and industrials had more modest returns.
  • Along the credit spectrum, BBB-rated credits outperformed higher quality bonds.
  • Decreased issuance as a result of tax reform and increased corporate liquidity has provided technical support to the credit markets. Through the third quarter, corporate bond issuance is approximately 10% lower than last year’s record pace.

Outlook

  • The aggressive U.S. - China trade rift remains a significant risk. The impact of U.S. tariffs will be closely monitored as the effects from potential retaliation could pose threats to global growth.
  • U.S. recession risk remains low as a tight labor market and rising wages will most likely lead to further Fed rate hikes.
  • Another noteworthy outcome from the September Fed meeting was the elimination of its longstanding reference to “accommodative” monetary policy. We believe this implies the Fed is comfortable with the recent rate increases and those planned over the next 12 months, given that financial conditions continue to support economic growth.
  • As expected, corporate yields continue to increase, however rising short-term rates, widening credit spreads, and inflationary pressures will pose headwinds.

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 Sept. 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 designed to track the performance of its stated benchmark index. It 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 its respective benchmark Index without regard to market conditions, trends or direction.

The S&P 500® /MarketAxess® Investment Grade Corporate Bond Index seeks to measure the performance of corporate debt issued in the U.S. by S&P 500 companies. It is a market value-weighted subset of the S&P 500 Investment Grade Corporate Bond index that seeks to measure the performance of corporate debt issued in the U.S. by companies (and their subsidiaries in the S&P 500), subject to additional liquidity rules. Indexes are unmanaged and one cannot invest directly in any index.

Risk factors: The value of the Fund's shares will change, and you could lose money on your investment. 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. Fixed-income securities are subject to interest rate risk and, as such, the net asset value of the Fund may fall as interest rates rise. Investing in below investment grade securities may carry a greater risk of nonpayment of interest or principal than higher-rated bonds. As of Nov. 30, 2017, the index was concentrated in the financial industry group; therefore, the Fund is subject to the same risks faced by companies in the financials industry to the same extent as the index is so concentrated. Such risks include extensive government regulation, fluctuation of profitability, and credit losses resulting from financial difficulties of borrowers. A number of factors may affect the Fund's ability to achieve a high degree of correlation with the Index, and there is no guarantee that the Fund will achieve a high degree of correlation. Failure to achieve a high degree of correlation may prevent the Fund from achieving its investment objective. 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.