The first round of the ETF Playoffs has concluded! Exchange, a conference for financial services professionals, is happening in Miami, February 11-14. Since Exchange is hosting a party for the big game at Miami’s hottest club, LIV, we’re hosting an ETF championship bracket.
The biggest ideas, product types, and themes are squaring off in bracket-style voting to see who will become the ETF Playoff champion of 2024. Round 1 has concluded, with shocking results! Here are the winners:
This is how round one went down:
Spot Bitcoin ETFs vs. Gold Funds
The bitcoin versus gold rivalry is almost as old as bitcoin itself. The two competing stores of value squared off, and spot bitcoin edged out gold. Still, this was a surprisingly close matchup. The recent SEC approvals and wave of new spot bitcoin ETF products feels like it should have led to a route. Does this indicate potential trouble for the new asset class in the Final 4? The other possibility is that gold remains popular among certain investors. Parks & Rec may be, at this point, an ancient show, but Ron Swanson’s legacy looms large.
Covered Call vs. Equal-Weight Large Cap
The second matchup of the day saw equal-weight large cap funds handily defeat covered calls. As is the nature of a bracket, covered calls are now out of options and eliminated.
In recent years, covered call funds have benefited from enormous popularity, as investors seek more novel approaches to income. Still, with the overwhelming performance of the Magnificent Seven and the underperformance of most large cap funds, investors see tremendous valuations and opportunity in equal-weight large caps. Accordingly, they advance to round two.
Active Fixed Income vs. Index Core Bond Funds
Active management has, in general, been something of the Cleveland Browns of investing. But thanks to strong votes earlier this week, active fixed income has a shot at ETF Playoff glory, easily defeating index core bond funds to advance to the semifinals. It’s no secret that active management is having a moment, and in 2024’s unusual market environment, this team could go far.
Artificial intelligence vs. Healthcare
In the thematic league, AI and healthcare have both been top of mind for investors. Both are strong themes with compelling investment cases, but among voters in the ETF Playoffs, AI won by a landslide. There are headwinds on the horizon for the fledgling theme, with high-profile lawsuits around an AI George Carlin special foreshadowing potential hurdles for the technology, but right now they look like the team to beat. Accordingly, they advance to the next round.
The Final 4 of the ETF Playoffs
Today investors can follow Exchange on LinkedIn and vote on which investing idea should advance to the finals. Spot bitcoin ETFs square up against equal-weight large cap funds, while active fixed income takes on AI. Anything can happen!
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