Large Cap Value Fund (HWLIX)

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The performance data quoted represents past performance and does not guarantee future results. Current performance may be lower or higher. Investment return and principal value of the fund will fluctuate, and shares may be worth more or less than their original cost when redeemed. Click quarter-end or month-end to obtain the most recent fund performance.

Manager Commentary
eriod ended June 30, 2017

 

MARKET COMMENTARY

The S&P 500 Index returned +3.1% in the second quarter.  Growth stocks outperformed value stocks in the quarter, with the Russell 1000 Growth Index returning +4.7% compared to the Russell 1000 Value Index’s return of +1.3%.  Year-to-date, the growth index has outperformed the value index by more than 9 percentage points, a reversal of value’s 10 percentage point advantage in 2016.  In the last few years, investors flocked to companies with high dividend payouts (i.e. bond surrogates) because interest rates have been persistently low.  In 2017, with GDP advancing at a positive but lackluster pace, investors have flocked to stocks that have exhibited above average growth.  This has not only led to growth’s outperformance but also produced a market with narrow leadership.  More than one-third of growth’s outperformance has come from just five mega cap stocks—Apple, Amazon, Facebook, Google, and Microsoft.

Financials have represented the portfolio’s largest sector since the end of the financial crisis, and banks have comprised a meaningful portion of that exposure.  In late June, the Federal Reserve Board completed its Comprehensive Capital Analysis and Review (“CCAR”) and did not object to the capital plans of the 34 participating companies1.  In its press release, the Fed noted that the common equity capital ratio of the 34 banks “has more than doubled from 5.5 percent in the first quarter of 2009 to 12.5 percent in the first quarter of 2017”.  Of the 34 banks, 26 are public US companies.  These 26 banks were approved for returning 100% of earnings to shareholders on average, which equates to 7.5% of their equity value; i.e. a 7.5% payout yield—a handful have a payout yield of more than 10%.  We view this as a compelling dynamic for companies that have not had better balance sheets in our lifetime. 

Equity valuation multiples leave us somewhat guarded.  Valuations are above average, though a healthy corporate environment, an accommodating Federal Reserve, and a resilient consumer provide support.  Potential policy changes remain a looming uncertainty across equity markets.  In addition to the mega cap growth stocks previously mentioned, investors have favored sectors with stable earnings and high dividend payouts, bidding them up to levels we view as excessive; we are underweight consumer staples, healthcare, REITs, and utilities.  We are overweight technology, industrials, and financials, which we believe exhibit compelling valuations for the risks at hand.  The portfolio trades at a considerable discount to the market, largely due to this valuation dichotomy.  The portfolio trades at 9.8x normal earnings compared to 14.9x and 17.3x for the Russell 1000 Value and S&P 500, respectively.  The portfolio trades at 1.5x book value compared to 2.0x and 3.0x for the two indices, respectively.  

ATTRIBUTION: 2Q 2017

The Hotchkis & Wiley Large Cap Value Fund  (Class I) outperformed the Russell 1000 Value Index in the second quarter.  Positive stock selection drove the outperformance in the quarter.  Stock selection was positive or neutral in 9 of the 11 Global Industry Classification Standard (GICS) sectors, with energy and consumer discretionary the exceptions.  Stock picking in utilities, telecommunications, industrials, and technology were the most notable positive contributors.  The largest individual contributors to relative performance were Calpine, Citigroup, Koninklijke Philips, Anthem, and Oracle; the largest detractors were Marathon Oil, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Discovery Communications, Bed Bath & Beyond, and Murphy Oil. 

PORTFOLIO ACTIVITY: 2Q 2017

We increased the financials weight slightly by adding a new position in Discover Financial Services and increasing the position in Wells Fargo.  Discover is a well-capitalized credit card issuer, electronic payment service provider, and student/personal lender trading at an attractive multiple of current and normal earnings, in our opinion.  The Fed approved Discover’s plan for returning more than 100% of its earnings to shareholders in the most recent CCAR.  Wells Fargo has lagged other banks this year, which we used as an opportunity to increase our position at a compelling valuation, in our opinion.  We also increased the energy weight by adding new positions in Apache (an undervalued exploration and production company) and Tesoro (an undervalued energy refining, transportation, and retail company).  We partially offset this by reducing the position in Marathon Oil.  We reduced the healthcare weight by trimming the positions in Sanofi and Anthem—both have performed well recently.

 

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1While the Fed did not object to its plan, Capital One is required to address weaknesses in its capital planning process and resubmit its plan.

Mutual fund investing involves risk. Principal loss is possible. The Fund may invest in foreign securities which involve greater volatility and political, economic and currency risks and differences in accounting methods.  The Fund may invest in American Depository Receipts (“ADRs”) and Global Depository Receipts (“GDRs”) which may be subject to some of the same risks as direct investment in foreign companies.

Fund holdings and/or sector allocations are subject to change and are not buy/sell recommendations. Current and future portfolio holdings are subject to risk. Certain information presented based on proprietary or third-party estimates are subject to change and cannot be guaranteed.  Portfolio managers’ opinions and data included in this commentary are as of 6/30/17 and are subject to change without notice.  Any forecasts made cannot be guaranteed.  Information obtained from independent sources is considered reliable, but H&W cannot guarantee its accuracy or completeness. Specific securities identified are the largest contributors (or detractors) on a relative basis to the Russell 1000 Value Index. Securities’ absolute performance may reflect different results. The Fund may not continue to hold the securities mentioned and the Advisor has no obligation to disclose purchases or sales of these securities. Attribution is an analysis of the portfolio's return relative to a selected benchmark, is calculated using daily holding information and does not reflect the payment of transaction costs, fees and expenses of the Fund. Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Diversification does not assure a profit nor protect against loss in a declining market.

Investing in value stocks presents the risk that value stocks may fall out of favor with investors and underperform other asset types during a  given periods. Equities, bonds, and other asset classes have different risk profiles, which should be considered when investing. All investments contain risk and may lose value.
 

Index definitions

Glossary of financial terms