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? DSENX-DSEEX a little help please if you can

Truthfully I thought that this fund would hold up better during times of stress like we're experiencing now but it seems to be doing no better at best. Does anyone with more knowledge or insight care to offer their thoughts? Thank you.


  • Hi Mark,

    I'm sure you know all this already, but... It uses derivatives to get exposure to both the stock and bond market with the same money, so it's leveraged, in a way -- and when both the stock and bond markets get hit, it will take a hit on both sides and fall more than just the stock market alone.

    So it's poor performance now makes sense to me. We're paying the price today for the benefits this leverage gave us (I own it) before.

    What I don't know is what to think of it going forward. Presumably Grundlach will add value over the long term to the bond side, as he's always done, but I wonder if its super-simple quant model (rebalancing based on CAPE) will make any sense in the future?

    I think a lot of quant models will need to be completely rejiggered, as historical patterns will matter less in a coronavirus world.

    But like you, I'd love to hear more from others on this fund.
  • edited March 2020
    This post has been edited to correct my description of the fund's implementation of its strategy. I should have gone directly to DoubleLine to begin with. My apologies for being lazy.

    It is a value play, if I understand the methodology correctly. M* calls it a blend. Lipper calls it a value. Value has been hit pretty hard lately.

    I don't really think of it as a quant fund. More of a sector rotation strategy. From their description:

    Each month the index ranks 11 sectors based on a modified CAPE® ratio and 12-month price momentum factor. The index selects five US sectors with the lowest modified CAPE® ratio or undervalued based on the ratio. The sector with the least favorable 12-month price momentum is rejected and the Index is comprised of the remaining four sectors for the given month.

    Their holdings
    as of February 29:
    Communication Services 25.77%
    Industrials 24.67%
    Materials 24.87%
    Technology 25.01%
    Total 100.00%

    I added to the position in my IRA on the 18th when Treasuries were going haywire. But I'm pretty much fully invested there now. I would add it to my taxable if I could. I really like reinvesting those monthly dividends.
  • Thank you both for your responses. To be honest I don't put much faith if any in the bond side of this fund despite Gundlach as we've now seen how they have failed to hold up as well. Not just in this fund but nearly everywhere. Ouch.
  • yes, you can always graph it against CAPE and what the bond sauce has provided --- nothing for some time, to the contrary

    brutal, brutal time, even if, as everyone points out now, you went heavily into bond funds of all types for safety and near-future cashflow needs
  • Well, I've got my fingers crossed, but a big chunk of our cash is sitting in SWKXX, a Schwab CA Muni MMKT fund, @ $1.00/share price. So far, so good, and with the Fed now spreading it's wings over that type of fund I'm hopeful that it will stay good. Any thoughts on that?
  • not from me

    I will be selling gsy and mint over the summer, presumably at some loss, just for cashflow

    vcsh will be next
  • I couldn't ever buy DSENX simply because I didn't really understand it. What I was able to see, and learned more about from all of you guys, is that it was leveraged, using derivatives. I am philosophically opposed to that sort of thing, anyhow. So, I put no money in it. This evening (still afternoon here,) I'm down one-fifth from the recent record-high in February. But that includes (as I always have done) wifey's 403b. It's a dividend-payer of the sort Old_Skeet has been recommending and buying. I guess we can't complain: a big chunk of that money was put into that account (VEIRX) by wifey's employer via the company match. I don't quite "get" why they do it this way, but they do: once per year in the Spring, there's a single, big dump of money into the 403b, but through the year, there is that "match," too, with every paycheck. That fund has fallen hard, -35%. It would seem to be a good time to BUY that fund, right now. Or wait. Because we will continue to go lower. Blame that pustule who is the Senate Majority Leader.
  • I've sold TRBUX BBBMX NEAR MINT GSY and JPST at my brokerages to capture what gains I had. I'm looking at funds like SNGVX THIFX BSV SHV and BIL which have held up better.
  • FWIW, I sold my shares of DSENX today and split the proceeds between AKREX and YAFFX. The Akre I already own and is my largest domestic holding, The Yacktman fund is new to me. Both funds handle market stress much better than DSENX and both funds at last report hold a lot of cash which I'm assuming will be deployed to great bargain stocks prices.
  • Anybody get an accurate price in DSENX/DSEEX today? My sources show -3.99%, but CAPE gained 7.79%, a real disconnect. Seem to remember that DL funds can be late reporting MF NAVs.
  • No price quote at Fidelity at this time. Google only shows yesterdays price.
  • DSEEX up 9.3 per M*.
  • ... and DSENX 9.2%. Not bad, compared to the rest of the stuff that I follow.
  • edited March 2020
    The old $10k-growth quote graphing from M*, which is not up to date tonight yet for many of these, shows that since 2/21 CAPE is right in the middle of, well, not its peers, but other ones I follow and think 'I should have done instead' ... NOBL, OUSA, DVY, VIG, SCHD, SPLV.

    So there seems no particular or new reason to jettison CAPE, whether you understand it or not.

    Certainly the DSE_X bond sauce has failed to add value for some time now.

    It is remarkable to see (for this short, monthlong span) DVY do a full ~9% worse than VIG and OUSA, since the first two are so widely touted.

    Of course it is mindblowing to see everything down like 26% in ~31 days, even after today's pop.

    Wait'll this new state gets really serious. I just had a college friend die last night of covid19, healthy, 72, took ill 2w ago, on ventilator 12 days in a highly regarded NJ hospital, best care, seemed to be rallying, cardiac arrest in the middle of the night. One of the 780 US deaths thus far. His family and friends are stupefied and (of course) worse. Alan Finder helped me unpack my cartons of LPs and whiskey 55y ago into our freshman dorm.

    Wait till we are discussing all this in a month or three or six, following the "president"'s Easter goal and back-to-work order.
  • That’s very sad, David. I’m sorry you lost a friend.
  • edited March 2020
    Thank you; most kind.

    Complete coincidence that we both trained to be academics and teachers, argued about history of ideas (and politics) 50+ years ago, and were teachers for a while, and then each separately wound up in journalism and editorial work forevermore. It is shocking (literally) to have someone in good health die like this. I sure am hoping everyone here is able to stay mostly safe and scrubbed and more or less isolated even in their declining wealth.
  • Very sorry to hear of your friend's death, David. Yes, this virus is really hitting home.

    I hadn't realized until one of your earlier comments how DSENX has consistently underperformed CAPE. Yeah, I own DSENX too, not a big part of my portfolio, but big enough to hurt.

    Gundlach's a smart guy. If he can't add value on the bond side... maybe it's time to just buy index funds and call it a day.
  • @davidrmoran, I'm sorry to hear you lost your college friend. That certainly brings this pandemic into perspective on a personal level. We've lost some money. Your friends family lost much more.

    I bought into DSENX shortly after you brought it to the attention of this board, so I had plenty of good years with it too. I understand the CAPE side of it and trusted the secret sauce bond side would help during a bear. Obviously wrong. I feel better now after moving that money going forward with AKREX and YAFFX.
  • Sorry to hear of the loss of your friend David. This hurts. I'll gladly trade money for a friend any day. Hang in there.
  • Thank you, all, for the kindness and warmth.

    Yes, the last year and two the DL bond sauce has not helped, has done the opposite, slightly. (It was DavidS who brought it to our attention, as so often!) But it is the severity of this recent bond plunge which has made DSE_X finally underperform CAPE for its lifetime.

    I myself am holding and think (hope) y'all are being short-termers, but I understand the sentiments. I might have bought or switched to CAPE instead at some point if it were available at ML.

    It is not easy to see in this storm significant value added by anyone, Hogan-Putnam, Yackts, Akre; I observe that PRBLX is back to being a notable leader. But good ol' SPY has outperformed too, so to speak, depending on what time slice you choose. Hang in.
  • @davidrmoran, Oh, I'm holding too. My question above was rhetorical: I do believe Gundlach will add value over the long term. I'll probably add at some point.
  • edited March 2020
    I just looked at CAPE since its inception, 7.5y ago, 10/12, and noted its >10% superiority to SPY. (Even moreso compared w/ the div and low-vol etfs listed above.)

    So if you are a long-termer (at 73- I have only so many terms left) I believe you will be hard-pressed to find something reliably outperforming SPY over time. Would like to know examples.

    Did not look to MFOP to screen for LCG like the named winners from TRP and Fido, also Polix and Akre, yet I am sure they have outperformed CAPE. But who else?

    Given AGG's relative outperformance recently, am thinking it plus CAPE in some proportion could be my new retirement grail.
  • Impressive indeed, I just did the same graph. The question for me is whether to add to DSENX or just buy CAPE instead (which I can get at Schwab.) Sticking to my keep-it-simple philosophy, CAPE might make more sense.
  • Depends on how you feel about Gundlach, who is a serious putz in many many ways, and his bond-saucing skills, which are ... sketchy? solid? real over the haul?

    (I realize this simply reposes your already posed question.)

    Also depends whether you are comfy w ETNs, which are not in the MFOP database, at least this ETN, so you can't check UI and such.

    I guess my advice would be dive into CAPE all by its lonesome, sure. Or split evenly w VOO / IVV so you can have fun tracking outperformance --- if it continues.
  • @davidrmoran. Yes, hard to know which... Maybe Gundlach is finding a chance to snap up good bonds sold at firesale prices. Last time this sort of thing happened (2008), smart bond managers with cash on hand made out like bandits.
  • As I have said before, trading CAPE is an adventure as there is often a lag between what the market is doing and a big gap between the bid and the ask prices. Trading volumes are usually low. With no commissions, it's now possible to buy small positions with only the price to worry about. Limit trades are a necessity. CAPE is far more tax efficient than DSENX because it doesn't throw off dividends.
  • Thanks @BenWP ; If I decide to take a position in DSENX, it will be in IRA.
  • edited March 2020
    BenWP said:

    As I have said before, trading CAPE is an adventure as there is often a lag between what the market is doing and a big gap between the bid and the ask prices. Trading volumes are usually low. With no commissions, it's now possible to buy small positions with only the price to worry about. Limit trades are a necessity. CAPE is far more tax efficient than DSENX because it doesn't throw off dividends.

    True dummy thought --- how does it track VOO and DSEEX so closely without reinvested divs? NAV alone? Also not seeing why limits are a necessity unless daytrading. Perhaps I am just foggier than my norm today.

    Did you ever see this from a couple years ago (SMWilliams seekingalpha, cached)? Sounds unlikely.

    This ETN could essentially play a similar role to an overall index equity ETF as a core portfolio fund with better risk-adjusted returns. However, since this is not an ETF but an ETN, I'd be hesitant with recommending it due to the fact that it has no underlying holdings but instead is an unsecured debt obligation only. The ETN only has 4 underlying indexes that it tracks in equal weights every month, so for an investor who wants to track the ETN but is uncomfortable with the ETN structure, you can see the indexes that it tracks online and replicate it by buying ETFs that cover those sectors, currently 25% consumer discretionary, 25% health care, 25% industrials, and 25% technology. The ETN has a 0.45% fee, Vanguard's Sector ETFs have a 0.10% fee, so depending on trading costs, you might end up paying less fees and you'd own an actual interest in the sector's stocks rather than just a credit note.
    To replicate this ETN in its current state with Vanguard ETFs, you'd calculate the total equity allocation you have and buy 25% of it in each: the Vanguard Consumer Discretionary ETF (VCR), the Vanguard Information Technology ETF (VGT), the Vanguard Healthcare ETF (VHT), and the Vanguard Industrials ETF (VIS) - which is what it holds as of September 29. Every month you'd check back on the website (or on this site which might have more up to date information on its holdings) and see what portfolio changes have been made and adjust your own portfolio. Although this would take much more time than just buying a simple static ETF portfolio, which should be enough for most people, but if you want to optimize your portfolio for less risk, this could be a relatively simple adjustment to make.
  • I don't know how it does it, @davidmoran. What you found above about the nature of ETNs is true. The note (N) is only as good as its issuer, Barclay's. If this bank were to tank, the note could have no value. Barclay's currently has 6 ETNs, as profiled in the link below.,5

    I think they are quite honest in stating the risk of losses. I looked at a 1-month chart of DSENX and CAPE on Yahoo and found the former was down -29.46%, while the latter declined -17.93%. CAPE's performance for this period is almost exactly the same as SPY. My bad is owning more of the MF than the ETN. It would take some time for me to figure out my total return in several different positions, with different purchase and sell dates.
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