Monthly Moves: Charting Our Strategies, June 2024

Clark Capital’s Economic Gauges

Clark Capital’s Bottom-Up, Fundamental Strategies

Economic growth and inflation continued to slow in the 2nd quarter as high interest rates exert pressure, although not outright negative GDP growth. New home sales plunged 11.3% in May and the unemployment rate reached 4%. June saw continued progress on the inflation front with core PCE ex-housing at 2.6%, the lowest level since March 2021, and Core PCE ex-housing reached near 2%.

Interest rates continued the trend lower that began in May. The 10-year Treasury rate slipped 10 basis points (bps) to 4.40% at the end of the month. While the Fed held rates steady, the expectations for cuts moved upward with the likelihood of a cut by September now sitting at 68%. The market is now pricing in almost 2 cuts this year.

Quality, size, and momentum remain the dominant market factors driven by profitability primarily in the Information Technology and Communications sectors. While security selection is concentrated in the large-cap growth area this year, we believe a Federal Reserve rate cut would benefit mid-cap and small-cap stocks.

Below are strategy updates from June:

Navigator® All Cap Core U.S. Equity
  • Navigator® All Cap is positioned with approximately ~77% in large-cap stocks and the remainder in mid/small-cap companies and cash.
  • During the month, to benefit from improving business fundamentals, the three most recent additions to the portfolio were an energy company and a residential construction company. The three most recent exits were a beauty products retailer, an energy company, and a kitchen equipment manufacturer.
Navigator® High Dividend Equity
  • Navigator® High Dividend Equity is positioned with approximately 98.3% in developed countries with the remainder in cash. The United States is the largest country weight at 90.8%, followed by Britain at 3.2% and Ireland at 1.6%. Large-cap represents 91.4% of the portfolio, mid-cap represents 6.8%, and the remainder is positioned in cash.
  • Financials remain our largest sector weight at 23.4% and above the benchmark weight. The next three largest portfolio weights are Industrials, Healthcare, and Information Technology at 15.1%, 13.2%, and 10.2%, respectively.
  • After a strong quarter, we reduced our position in a leading semiconductor company and a prominent technology firm, and increased existing positions in a major transportation company, a defense contractor, and an energy company.
Navigator® International Equity ADR
  • Navigator® International Equity/ADR is positioned with ~16% in emerging markets with the balance in developed economies and cash. Britain, Canada, China, Ireland, Japan, and Switzerland are the strategy’s largest country weights, all ranging between 6% and 19%.
  • ADR’s exposure to China is now ~7% and slightly above its weighting in the All-Country World less US benchmark.
  • Financials, Industrials, and Information Technology are our largest sector weights.
  • During the month, to benefit from improving business fundamentals, the two most recent additions to the portfolio were an electricity company based in Hong Kong and a Canadian multinational athletic apparel retailer. The three most recent exits an Indonesian bank, an American-Irish medical device company, and a German multinational technology conglomerate.
Navigator® Taxable Fixed Income
  • Within the portfolio, the focus was on adding bonds in the 5-7 year portion of the curve. With the expected continued steepening of the yield curve, we believe this portion may outperform over the next few months. As bonds have matured, the proceeds have been reinvested in this part of the market.
  • A few bank names were added with yields over 5.3% and discount prices below 85. We believe this combination should result in positive returns as prices move toward par closer to maturity.
  • On the other end of the yield curve, short-term bonds (1 year and less to maturity) were added due to the inverted yield curve, reflecting the highest yields in this segment. We believe this strategy combines the highest yield with the potential for the highest total return.
Navigator® Tax-Free Fixed Income
  • June’s new issue pipeline was wide open, eclipsing May’s robust deal flow and coming in at $47.6B, versus $39.7B in June 2023 (BAML data).
  • Through 6/18, ICI reported net outflows from long-term muni funds of $321m. While we await the month’s closing weeks data, other sources indicated marginal inflows during the period.
  • Municipal sellers slightly eased off this month, with average daily bids wanted at $1.216B compared to a trailing 1-year average of $1.231B.
  • The butterfly trade implemented since Q1 appears to be maturing, with curve spreads becoming “crowded out” in the 15-to-20-year maturities, driven by increased demand for yield and favorable roll down dynamics.
  • We will explore opportunities in this trade and consider swaps into the pollution control revenue (PCR) and industrial development revenue (IDR) sectors, due to their higher yields.

Clark Capital’s Top-Down, Quantitative Strategies

Equity markets have enjoyed strong, but very mixed gains year to date, led by large-cap U.S. indices with the S&P 500 gaining 15.29%, the Russell 2000 Index of small cap stocks up only 1.79%, and the international stocks up 5.69%. Large-cap growth has led all styles with a sharp focus on technology and high cash flow margin companies outpacing all others. Fixed Income returns were mixed with credit enjoying gains and duration largely flat after suffering losses early in the year as rates advanced and the curve shifted higher. The Bloomberg Barclays U.S. Corporate High Yield Index gained 2.58%, while the Aggregate Bond Index was down 0.71%, and the 7-10 Year Treasury Index declined by 0.86%.

The gains have not all come in a straight line higher, and there are pretty significant differences between stocks of different markets capitalizations.

While the S&P 500 index is trading in new high territory, the same index on an equal weighted basis has lagged. Small-cap stocks peaked on 11/8/2021 and are still 12.90% below that high. Meanwhile, the cumulative advance-decline line is also lagging. These divergences deserve to be monitored and indicate that risks may be elevated of a correction if they persist.

Below are strategy updates from June:

Navigator® Alternative
  • Alternative credit, options-based, and long-short equity led the mutual fund core, while managed futures lagged as interest rates turned down.
  • The portfolio recently purchased a green technology ETF, a Chinese technology ETF, and a biotechnology ETF.
  • In addition, we added more to metals and miners after a substantial early June decline. Fixed income generally remains the least favored in our rankings.
Navigator® Fixed Income Total Return (MultiStrategy Fixed Income)
  • The 10-year Treasury yield fell from above 4.6% to about 4.3% at the end of June. While this has reduced the stresses of higher interest rates, spreads counterintuitively have risen slightly, moving our models away from fresh highs.
  • However, broad high yield has maintained its price strength, and there are very few signs of fundamental credit weakness.
  • Treasuries are on the rise and could replace cash as our defensive vehicle of choice.
Navigator® Global Risk Management
  • Our models remain risk-on based on strong credit fundamentals, which have shown little signs of faltering.
  • While markets have been quite narrow and driven by Technology, we do not consider that problematic as long as broader credit conditions indicate a healthy economic backdrop.
  • Treasuries have not quite exceeded cash as our preferred vehicle of choice, but we expect this may happen by the end of the year.
Navigator® Global Tactical
  • Our credit-based models continue to show a healthy backdrop for risk assets. Treasury yields have declined, as markets assess that Fed rate cuts are more likely to come by the end of the year.
  • While economic growth has slowed slightly, signs of recessionary trouble are not on the horizon, and declining interest rates should keep our models risk facing over the intermediate term.
Navigator® Sector Opportunity
  • The portfolio only allocates to the Technology and Telecommunications sectors, and to the S&P 500 Index. All other sectors have not been able to keep up with the index, particularly as breadth has faded.
  • Given the increasing concentration in both the market and our portfolio, we have also increased our allocation to the S&P 500 itself. This adjustment aims to mitigate risk in case of a significant downturn in the Technology sector.
Navigator® Style Opportunity (MultiStrategy Equity)
  • At the end of May, markets narrowed dramatically, and more and more, only members of the AI ecosphere enjoyed investor favor.
  • Broad mid-caps and small-caps as well as value stocks all broke to new relative lows, and our models followed to favor large-cap growth and the S&P 500 Index (which has three times as much weight in large-cap growth as large-cap value).
  • Thus, our portfolio allocates 60% to large-cap growth and the other 40% to the S&P 500, with a sizeable gap between large-cap growth and everything else.
Navigator® U.S. Strategic Beta
  • The portfolio recently increased growth stocks at the expense of low volatility.
  • We maintain an overweight to mid-cap and small-cap stocks, particularly given the large and growing valuation gap between mega-cap growth and mid-cap and small-cap value, as the NASDAQ 100’s forward P/E ratio is 1.8 times higher that of small-caps.

The opinions referenced are as of the date of publication and are subject to change due to changes in the market or
economic conditions and may not necessarily come to pass. There is no guarantee of the future performance of any Clark
Capital investments portfolio. Material presented has been derived from sources considered to be reliable and has not been
independently verified by us or our personnel. Nothing herein should be construed as a solicitation, recommendation or an
offer to buy, sell or hold any securities, other investments or to adopt any investment strategy or strategies.
The “Economic Gauges” represent the firm’s expectations for the market, and how changes in the market will affect the
strategy, but are only projections which assume certain economic conditions and industry developments and are subject to
change without notice. For educational use only.

This information is not intended to serve as investment advice. This material is not intended to be relied upon as a forecast or
research. The investment or strategy discussed may not be suitable for all investors. Investors must make their own decisions
based on their specific investment objectives and financial circumstances. Past performance does not guarantee future

Fixed income securities are subject to certain risks including, but not limited to: interest rate (changes in interest rates may
cause a decline in market value of an investment), credit, payment, call (some bonds allow the issuer to call a bond for
redemption before it matures), and extension (principal repayments may not occur as quickly as anticipated, causing the
expected maturity of a security to increase).

Equity securities are subject to price fluctuation and possible loss of principal. Stock markets tend to move in cycles, with
periods of rising prices and periods of falling prices. Certain investment strategies tend to increase the total risk of an investment
(relative to the broader market). Strategies that concentrate their investments in limited sectors are more vulnerable to
adverse market, economic, regulatory, political, or other developments affecting those sectors. Treasury yield is the return on
investment, expressed as a percentage, on the U.S. government’s debt obligations. Looked at another way, the Treasury yield
is the effective interest rate that the U.S. government pays to borrow money for different lengths of time.

References to market or composite indices, benchmarks or other measures of relative market performance over a specified
period of time (each, an “index”) are provided for your information only. Reference to an index does not imply that the
portfolio will achieve returns, volatility or other results similar to that index. The composition of the index may not reflect the
manner in which a portfolio is constructed in relation to expected or achieved returns, portfolio guidelines, restrictions, sectors,
correlations, concentrations, volatility or tracking error targets, all of which are subject to change. Investors cannot invest
directly in an index.

The 10-year Treasury note is a debt obligation issued by the United States government with a maturity of 10 years upon initial

The Standard and Poor’s 500, or simply the S&P 500, is a stock market index tracking the stock performance of 500 large
companies listed on stock exchanges in the United States.

The Russell 1000 Index is a stock market index that tracks the highest-ranking 1,000 stocks in the Russell 3000 Index, which
represent about 93% of the total market capitalization of that index.

Non-investment-grade debt securities (high-yield/junk bonds) may be subject to greater market fluctuations, risk of default
or loss of income and principal than higher-rated securities.

International Securities means securities listed on a foreign stock exchange and includes, but is not limited to stocks, shares,
bonds, debentures or other debt securities, notes, rights, units, options and any other instruments representing rights to
receive, purchase or subscribe for same.

This document may contain certain information that constitutes forward-looking statements which can be identified by the
use of forward-looking terminology such as “may,” “expect,” “will,” “hope,” “forecast,” “intend,” “target,” “believe,” and/or comparable
terminology (or the negative thereof). Forward looking statements cannot be guaranteed. No assurance, representation,
or warranty is made by any person that any of Clark Capital’s assumptions, expectations, objectives, and/or goals will be
achieved. Nothing contained in this document may be relied upon as a guarantee, promise, assurance, or representation as
to the future.

Clark Capital utilizes a proprietary investment model to assist with the construction of the strategy and to assist with making
investment decisions. Investments selected using this process may perform differently than expected as a result of the
factors used in the model, the weight placed on each factor, and changes from the factors’ historical trends. There is no
guarantee that Clark Capital’s use of a model will result in effective investment decisions.

Clark Capital Management Group, Inc. is an investment adviser registered with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
Registration does not imply a certain level of skill or training. More information about Clark Capital’s advisory services and
fees can be found in its Form ADV which is available upon request. CCM-1188


K. Sean Clark, CFA®
EVP, Chief Investment Officer