Ivy ProShares S&P 500 Dividend Aristocrats Index Fund

Ivy ProShares S&P 500 Dividend Aristocrats Index Fund
12.31.18

Market Sector Update

  • Large-cap stocks posted sharp losses during the fourth quarter, as measured by the S&P 500, the Fund’s broad market target, declining 14% for the period.
  • While most of the damage happened in December, with the S&P 500 losing just over 9%, October also saw a significant decline, making it one of the worst quarters for stocks in 10 years.
  • Concerns over a global economic slowdown, the prospect for continued rate increases, and the unresolved trade spat with China were the main culprits. Investors found few places to hide as all sectors except utilities (1.4%) suffered losses.

Portfolio Strategy

  • A passively managed index fund, the Fund unperformed its benchmark, the S&P 500 Dividend Aristocrats Index, and its broad market target for the period.
  • Favorable stock screening and sector allocation impacts were key contributors to performance for the quarter.
  • The largest contributors to relative performance were holdings in consumer staples. While the group declined, consumer staples performed better than the broader market.
  • The Fund’s underweight position to information technology hurt relative performance as these holdings continued to outperform the broader market.
  • A small underweight to utilities stocks, which outperformed, and an overweight to industrials names, which underperformed the broader market, were the largest detractors from performance during the period.

Outlook

  • The Fund remains focused exclusively on companies within the S&P 500 Index that have grown their dividends for at least 25 consecutive years. While not necessarily providing the highest dividend yield, a strategy based on highquality companies with a consistent track record of dividend growth provides the potential for attractive long-term 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 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 Dec. 31, 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 Dividend Aristocrats Index measures the performance S&P 500 companies that have increased dividends every year for the last 25 consecutive years. The Index treats each constituent as a distinct investment opportunity without regard to its size by equally weighting each company. The S&P 500 Index is composed of 500 selected common stocks chosen for market size, liquidity, and industry grouping, among other factors. It is not possible to invest directly in an index.

The S&P 500 Dividend Aristocrats Index measures the performance S&P 500 companies that have increased dividends every year for the last 25 consecutive years. The Index treats each constituent as a distinct investment opportunity without regard to its size by equally weighting each company. The S&P 500 Index is composed of 500 selected common stocks chosen for market size, liquidity, and industry grouping, among other factors. It is not possible to invest directly in an index.

Rachel Ames served as a portfolio manager on the Fund until April 2018.

Risk factors: The value of the Fund’s shares will change, and you could lose money on your investment. Large 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. 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.