As per the US Internal Revenue Code, Qualified Dividends are dividends that are subject to the similar tax levels as long-term capital gains, which are less than rates for an individual?s ordinary income. These dividends are taxed as capital gains at 20 per cent, 15 per cent or 0 per cent rates, contingent on the tax bracket.
What is Earnings Per Share? EPS is the per share profit by a business in a given period. While analysing a business financially, it serves as one of the basic tools. EPS is calculated by dividing profits by total shares outstanding for a given period. EPS is reported on the profit and loss statement of an enterprise and works as a denominator for beloved price-to-earnings ratio (P/E ratio), used not just by novice investors but also fund managers. A business is required to generate sustainable earnings in its life cycle, and earnings or profits are essentially among major intend of a promotor. To know more about P/E ratio read: Understanding Price-Earnings Ratio But reported earnings of a business will likely differ from actual cash earnings because devising profits mandate broader accounting standards and principles to provide a fair picture of an enterprise. EPS, therefore, becomes imperative for investors, market participants and other users of information. EPS estimates are circulated by sell-side analysts to market participants. Financial Modelling is applied to arrive at the EPS estimates of future financial years, semi-annual periods or quarterly, depending on the reporting adopted by the firm. Analyst estimates are then collected by market data providers like Reuters, Bloomberg, IRESS to provide a consensus view of analysts on the business and its financials, including revenue, operating expense, earnings before interest and tax, profit after tax, EPS. Market estimates enable participants to evaluate the expectations of sell-side analysts from a particular company, sector or even index. Analyst estimates also indicate the divergence between an individual’s expectations and collective expectations of analysts that are tracking the company. An individual can, therefore, determine whether the stock of the company is undervalued or overpriced by the market against hi one’s fair value estimates that are based on the expectations from the company. More on EPS read: What Do We Mean By Earnings Per Share (EPS)? How to calculate EPS? Although general formula considers total shares outstanding in the denominator, it is preferred to use weighted average shares outstanding over a period because companies issue new shares, buyback or cancel shares. Net Income is the profit reported by a business after incurring income tax. It is also called as Net Profit After Tax. Dividends on Preferred Shares are paid to preferential shareholders because they have first right over the income of a business, but preferred shares don’t have voting rights like common shareholders or ordinary shareholders. Weighted Average Shares Outstanding is calculated after incorporating changes in number of shares during a period, and using weighted average shares outstanding provides a fair financial position of a company. Basic V/S Diluted EPS Diluted EPS is calculated after adding the weighted average number of shares that would be issued after the conversion of dilutive shares to weighted average shares outstanding. Dilutions can include share rights, performance rights, convertible bonds etc. Whereas Basic EPS is calculated by taking weighted average shares outstanding that incorporate changes to number of shares outstanding such as buyback, new issues etc. What is Adjusted-EPS? In a financial period, firms may incur one-time expenses or transactions that are not usual in the normal course of business. The objective of adjusted EPS is to arrive at a fair picture of the business, especially for financial forecasting. Extraordinary items are excluding from EPS to arrive at adjusted EPS figure. These items can include gain on sale of assets, loss on sale of assets, merger costs, capital raising costs, integration expenses etc. What is Normalised EPS? Normalised EPS is calculated to arrive at an EPS figure, which embeds the fluctuations in income due to business cycles or industry cycles. It also includes adjustments made for calculation of adjusted EPS such as one-time gains or losses. Normalised EPS is a useful measure for companies that are sensitive to economic cycles or changes in the business environment. By smoothening out the fluctuations, it provides a fair picture of the business. If a company has reported high normalised earnings over periods, it is considered that the company is less sensitive to changes in business cycles because of its stable revenues and income during the periods. EPS and Price-to-earnings ratio Calculation of price-to-earnings ratio requires EPS as denominator and price of the stock as numerator. EPS therefore becomes a very important financial metric for investors. EPS and price data also allows participants to compare the historical trends of the P/E ratio with the current market scenario and P/E ratio of the stock. How can increase grow EPS? Businesses can increase EPS by focusing on increasing their revenue, by improving operational efficiencies either by deploying technology to reduce cost, or negotiate better prices with vendors, operate in tax efficient manner, etc. Businesses can also improve EPS by undertaking corporate action such as buying back of shares. Read: Pros and cons of buybacks – Story of 5 Popular Stocks including Aurizon Good read: Every Doubt You Have On Earnings Per Share- Explained Right Here!
What are ETFs? ETFs are similar to funds where pooled money of investors is managed by a fund manager, who runs the ETF. These funds invest in equity, debt, commodity or any other asset class, depending on its offering. Good read: Mastering the Basics of Investing in ETFs Price of the ETF is based on a value of net assets in the fund and is subject to change each trading day consistent with underlying changes in the value of net assets. Since ETFs are traded in markets just like shares, the quoted price of an ETF either reflects a discount to its NAV or a premium to its NAV. Investors have flocked to ETFs because of low-cost proposition and opportunity to take exposure in a specific pool of assets, which are professionally managed by an investment team with the investment manager. Some ETFs are also used as a proxy to define sentiment in an underlying sector, commodity or index since ETFs are actively traded in market hours, incorporating the latest information in prices. Fund management businesses have continued launching new and innovative ETFs, which have seen great demand over the past. Read: Gold ETFs register massive capital influx; while PDI, GPP, ERM, AME, RED Under Investors’ Lens Large and popular ETFs have also defied liquidity problems because of large scale investor participation. But it remains a problem with lesser-known ETFs with small market participation. ETFs also pay distributions to the holders that are either derived through interest income, dividend income or capital gain. Active and Passive ETFs With ETFs markets growing strongly as ever, there remains a divide between active fund managers and passive fund managers. Passive investment strategies have grown immensely popular among market participants over time. This strategy is cost effective. Many seasoned investors such as Warren Buffett, John C Bogle- founder of the Vanguard Group have endorsed passive ETFs. Active ETFs do not track a benchmark, and performance is not tracked to any given index. These funds are based on countries, sectors, market capitalisation, asset classes, etc., and active investment management allows a manager to beat the returns delivered by broader markets or indices. If you look at the great investors like Warren Buffet, Philip Fisher or Peter Lynch, they have set themselves as a preamble for active investors, and their record of delivering sustainable returns over the long term continues to attract investors to active alleys of markets. Since Passive ETFs are designed to match returns of respective benchmarks, there is no scope of delivering outperformance no guarantee that fund will not underperform the benchmark. However, the expenses charged to investors are relatively lower compared to Active ETFs. Passive ETFs are cheaper than Active ETFs because the use of resources is limited in the former. Since they are designed to match the benchmark and its underlying securities, trading in Passive ETFs is mostly automated running on algorithms, and stock picking is not required, thereby no research. Read: ETFs: Investors Up the Ante and ETFs Run the Show for Long-Term Returns ETFs based on asset classes and style Sector ETFs: These are the most common type of ETFs in market. Sector ETFs track specific sectors like Information Technology, Consumer Staples, Consumer Discretionary, Metal & Mining. These are similar to index funds but are actively traded in stock exchanges. Equity ETFs: Equity ETFs may include equity-focused Sector ETFs. As the name suggests equity, these funds invest in stocks independently or are benchmarked to a specific index. Perhaps, Equity ETFs are the most common ETFs. Fixed Income ETFs: These funds invest in fixed income instruments and pay distributions out of the interest earned on bonds. Further Fixed Income ETFs can be separated as investment-grade ETFs, high-yield ETFs, Government bond ETFs. Commodity ETFs: Commodity ETFs invest in physical commodities like precious metal, agricultural goods, natural resource. These funds include products like Gold ETFs, Oil ETFs, Grain ETFs, Silver ETFs. Good read: Investing in Commodity ETFs Short ETFs: Also known as inverse ETFs, these funds are designed to benefit when the benchmark is falling. Short ETFs hold short positions in the benchmark index futures or constituents of the index to benefit from fall in value or prices. To know more about short selling read: Minting Money While the Asset Price Tanks; Enter the World of Short Selling Leveraged ETFs: Leveraged ETFs use derivatives to amplify the returns and risks of a fund. These are also called geared ETFs. Leveraged ETFs may also hold equity or bonds along with the derivatives to amplify the net asset value movement of funds. Do read: All You Need to Know About Exchange Traded Funds Why investors prefer ETFs? Passive investment vehicles continue to appear compelling to a large investor base, and there are numerous reasons driving the demand for passive investment vehicles. Low-cost and no minimum investment: ETFs have lower expenses compared to traditional mutual funds, and most of the funds have no minimum investment criteria. As a result, the market for ETFs has grown strong, due to its reach to investors with limited capital. Must read: Mutual Funds vs. ETFs: Which Are Better? Exposure to specific asset classes: Investors with large portfolio also use ETFs to enter to into specific asset classes like Gold ETF or Commodity ETF, but not limited to sector ETFs, theme-based active ETFs like technology, mobility, e-commerce etc. Portfolio diversification: ETFs provide investors with an opportunity to diversify a portfolio of concentrated stocks by including exposure to specific sectors, indices, and commodities. More importantly, the diversification is available at a low-cost investment, which further drives the need for ETFs in a portfolio. Accessibility: It is perhaps the most compelling value ETFs provide to investors. Since ETFs are available on stock exchanges like shares, investor participation remains strong, and some popular ETFs boast high liquidity levels. Read: Confused on How to Invest in ETFs? We Have Some Tips! Further read: 6 Reasons to look at ETFs
Defining Macroeconomics Macroeconomics is a branch of Economics that evaluates the functioning of an economy as a whole. It studies the performance and behaviour of key economic indicators such as economy’s output of goods and service, exchange rates, the growth of output, the rate of unemployment and inflation, and balance of payments. Macroeconomics emphasises on the policies and economic behaviour that influence consumption and investment, exchange rates, trade balance, money flow, fiscal and monetary policy, interest rates, national debt, and factors influencing wages and prices. The scope of the subject goes beyond microeconomic topics like the behaviour of individuals, firms, markets, and households. History of Macroeconomics Macroeconomics originated with John Maynard Keynes post the great depression when the classical economist failed to explain the great economic fallout. Classical economics mostly comprised theories that studied pricing, distribution, and supply & demand. In 1936, John Maynard Keynes published – The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money – effectively changing the perception of how macroeconomic problems should be addressed. The theories of Keynes shifted to focus on aggregate demand from the aggregate supply. Keynes said: ‘In the long run, we are all dead’. This statement was made to dismiss the notion that the economy would be in full employment in the long run. Later the theories developed by Keynes formed the basis for Keynesian economics, which gained popularity over other schools of thoughts including Neoclassical economics. Neoclassical economics emerged in the 1900s. It introduced imperfect competition models, which included marginal revenue curves, indifference curves. The theories in neoclassical economics argued about the efficient allocation of limited productive resource. Neoclassical economists explain consumption, production, pricing of goods and services through supply and demand. Some assumptions of this thought were an individual’s motive is to maximise utility as companies seek to maximise profits. Individuals make rational choices and act independently on perfect information. Over the years, many new schools of thought in Macroeconomics have found footing in the economics world. These include monetarist theories, new classical economics, new Keynesian economics, and supply-side macroeconomics. Difference between Macroeconomics and Microeconomics Major topics in Macroeconomics National income and output The estimation of national income includes the value of goods and services produced by a country in a financial year domestically and internationally. National income essentially means the value of total output generated by an economy in a year. National income can also be referred as national expenditure, national output or national dividend. Financial systems Understanding financial systems is an important concept in macroeconomics. A financial market is a market for financial securities and commodities, including bonds, shares, precious metal, agriculture goods. It is important for an economy to have markets where buyers and sellers can exchange goods. A financial market helps in the allocation of resources. Financial markets facilitate savings mobilisation, i.e. financial intermediaries channelise funds from savers to borrowers. Investment remains on the agenda for policymakers to promote growth, and financial markets facilitate funds by allowing individuals to invest in bonds and stocks, which are issued by institutions seeking funds for investments. Business cycles A Business cycle or an economic cycle refers to fluctuations in production, trade or economic activities. The upward and downward movement generally indicates the fluctuations in gross domestic product. A business cycle has four different phases: expansion, peak, contraction, and trough. An expansion in an economy is when economic growth, employment, prices are rising. The peak is achieved when the economy is producing maximum output, inflation is visible, and employment levels are running high. After a peak, the economy enters into contraction, which leads to a fall in employment, depleting economic activity, and stabilisation in prices. At trough, the economy is at the bottom of the cycle, and the next phase of expansion starts after the trough. Interest rates Macroeconomics also deals with interest rates in the economy. Interest rate policy of an economy is formulated and maintained by the central bank. A central bank manages the money supply in the economy. The intervention by the central bank to propel economic growth is called monetary policy. The monetary policy of an economy seeks to maintain employment and inflation in the economy. The motive of the monetary policy is to achieve full employment and maintain stable prices.
What are Hedge Funds? A hedge fund is a managed pooled fund for alternative investment method which employs trading into complex products including equities, derivatives, real estate, currencies and many others. The performance of the fund is measured in absolute return units. As the name suggests, hedge fund tries to “hedge” the risk associated with a particular investment choice based on the price relevant information. Hedge fund managers choose from the variety of options from stocks to bonds and commodities to currencies. Sometimes they may invest their own money to a fund to leverage the magnifying effect of the investment. How did it start? Alfred Winslow Jones is regarded as a pioneer in the field of hedge fund management, and he launched the first hedge fund in 1949. Alfred structured the funds by finding the loopholes in the regulations and reaping benefits from them. Alfred formed an investment partnership and committed his own money in the partnership. He fixed his remuneration in the form of performance incentive, which was 20% of profits. Alfred, in his endeavour, combined shorting and leverage, and hedged them against the market movements and reduced the risk exposure. He chose equal short and long positions for his portfolio. The overall impact of the combination of long and short positions, his portfolio became more stable with lower risks. Why opt for Hedge Funds Image source - © Kalkine Group 2020 Many fund managers joined Alfred to gain fame and fortune. Some of them even went to start their own fund houses and an SEC report of 1968 reported 140 hedge funds in the United States of America. During the stock market boom of the late 1960s led to a belief that Hedge Funds underperformed than the overall market. Many hedge fund managers dropped the idea of long term and short term positions and did not feel the need for risk hedging. To take the benefits of the market boom, many fund managers moved out from the Alfred technique of lowering market movement risks. The fund managers moved boldly to the riskier strategies, which led to heavy losses in 1969-70. The bear market of 1973-74 drove a massive plunge in hedge funds and saw closure of many such funds due to heavy losses. During the mid-80s, hedge funds again became centre of attraction for large investors due to the Julian Robertson’s Tiger Fund. The fund was one of the many global macro funds that used leveraged investments in securities and currencies after careful assessments of global macroeconomic and political situations. Tiger Fund, in 1985, correctly forecasted the end of the four-year trend of the US dollar appreciation against currencies of Europe and Japan and speculated in non-US currency call options. A report in the year 1986, reveals that since its inception, Tiger Fund gave an average of 43% return to its investors. During the late 1990s, hedge fund suffered one of the largest losses. Quantum Fund lost US$2 billion in 1998 during the Russian debt crisis. Tiger Fund lost more than US$2 billion in trading of Japanese Yen with respect to the US dollar. The losses and redemption of money by the investors led to the closure of the Tiger Fund in 2000. What are the different types of hedge funds? Hedge funds can differ based on the strategy chosen by the manager after consulting the investors. The strategy is laid out to the investors through a prospectus before going forward with it. This makes a hedge fund more flexible as investors are always aware of about where the funds are going. Thus, hedge funds can be of the following types: Macro: These hedge funds aim to profit through macroeconomic trends. These macro parameters may include global trade, interest rates, forex policies, etc. Equity: These hedge funds involve investments into stocks nationally and internationally, both. This is accompanied by a hedging position against stock market downfalls by shorting overvalued stocks. However, the striking feature of this type of hedge fund is that managers pick up undervalued stocks and split the investment between going long in stocks and shorting others. Relative-Value: This type of hedge fund takes advantage of inefficiencies existing in the spread. A Spread is the difference between bid price and ask price of a security. Event-based: These involve those funds that seek to gain from inefficiencies brought on by corporate events, corporate restructurings, mergers, and takeovers, etc. How is a hedge fund different from a mutual fund? In operation, hedge funds and mutual funds may sound the same as they both involve a pooled sum of funds being invested. However, there are some fundamental differences between both. These include: The need for accredited investors: Hedge funds are only open to certain accredited wealthy investors holding high level of capital. However, mutual funds are open to non-accredited investors as well. Liquidity: Hedge funds do not maintain daily liquidity, whereas mutual funds are much more liquid. Hedge fund investors may only liquidate after the specified subscription period is over. This period may be a quarter long or a month long depending on the type of fund. Investment instruments: Hedge funds investors can invest in various types of investments other than stocks. These include bonds, commodities, exchange rate, etc. However, mutual funds invest in stocks. This makes hedge funds much riskier than mutual funds. Regulations: Hedge funds are subjected to less regulatory checks are compared to mutual funds. Some hedge fund managers may not even be required to register the fund with the Security Exchange Authority. However, mutual funds are subject to greater level of regulations and must provide higher level of disclosure than that required by hedge funds. How is it doing now? The hedge fund industry has evolved substantially, and their numbers are in thousands and managing trillion dollars of investment around the globe. Their Modulus Operandi has also evolved over the year. They ask their investors to put the money in locking period of a minimum of 1 year. Hedge funds are usually open to qualified investors. The fees charged by the fund managers are also generally on the higher side, around 2% of the underline asset value plus the performance fee on gains generated. The basic principle of hedging the investment has now changed, and the key focus is to maximise profits or to give higher returns on the investments. To achieve higher returns, fund managers often put their money on higher risk elements. Fund managers use leverage to increase the spread of profit, but at the same time, leveraging can incur more loss than the actual investment would have made. Speculative investment has the potential of higher risk and huge losses. Being said that, the past financial blunders of hedge fund have also provided expensive learning and experience to the fund managers. Building upon the legacy, hedge funds have given higher returns over the years. The average rate of returns of hedge funds attracts most of the wealthy investors towards them. They invest in anything from bonds to securities to currencies and even real estate. There is no fixed rule of investment or instrument for investment, and no definition could cover the entire system of hedge funds. What are the two sides of investing in Hedge Funds? Image source: ©Kalkine Group