361 U.S. Small Cap Equity Fund
The start of 2018 was met with similar market moves to those experienced throughout most of 2017. All major equity market indices moved higher, illustrated by the MSCI World Index moving up 5.28%. For the U.S. Small Cap market, the Russell 2000 Index returned 2.61% and was a relative laggard. The 361 U.S. Small Cap Equity Fund outperformed for the month by 0.14%, returning 2.75%.
It was a mixed month in terms of performance drivers Results were positive in January, in that our holdings experienced 485 net earnings revisions versus a random portfolio at 227. That said, response rates to such revisions were not as robust as those experienced in months past, muting performance slightly. To that end, however, analyst sentiment was distinctly positive, with the percentage of positive earnings estimate changes within the index reaching 70.5% (for reference, this is the highest monthly ratio we have calculated in 10 years).
Among our secondary models is a cashflow-to-price model. It is run alongside our behavioral models and ranks every stock intra-sector to determine a relative valuation. An additional tailwind for performance came from an avoidance of the lowest rank stocks (i.e., the lowest quintile) and focusing on the highest rank stocks, with the former lagging by 130 basis points.
Given the portfolio is constructed to be sectorneutral, stock selection tends to drive the vast majority of out/underperformance. To demonstrate that point, sector tilts resulted in 0.02% positive performance. On the other hand, stock selection contributed 0.39%. Information Technology was the leader in regard to stock picks, followed by Industrials and Real Estate. The most significant detractor were stock picks within Healthcare.