The Qraft AI-Enhanced U.S. Large Cap Momentum ETF, trading as
on the New York Stock Exchange, bought shares in
—the cinema chain and retail investor favorite—over some of the
‘s largest companies this month. AMOM’s preference for AMC came as another meme stock,
was booted from its portfolio.
Run by artificial intelligence, AMOM’s rebalancing at the beginning of July was characterized by the removal of major technology and retail stocks, as it pivoted to focus on pandemic trades and reducing volatility.
made up a collective 28% of the fund’s holdings, but all five stocks were ditched in its latest rebalancing—meaning that the AI controlling AMOM believes they will see price declines across July.
The standout among the stocks added in July was AMC, the cinema chain that along with
has epitomized the “meme stock” trading frenzy in 2021.
A flock of investors, largely organized on social media platform Reddit, helped squeeze hedge funds’ short positions on companies including GameStop and AMC earlier this year. The trading frenzy caused multibillion-dollar losses for hedge funds, unbelievable gains for individuals that timed it right, and ushered in a new era of internet-inspired trading.
AMC’s stock price rose 570% from January 20 to January 27—from nearly $3 a share to almost $20. Shares in the group are now up close to 1,500% so far in 2021, trading around $33.
And now the AI calling the shots at AMOM thinks the stock will move even higher in July, buying enough shares to make up 1.8% of the fund. Bringing AMC into the fold came as the robot ditched GameStop, which was added to AMOM in May but booted out after the stock fell more than 14% in June.
“Qraft’s AI model is not specifically designed to invest in meme stocks, but rather in stocks with high capital appreciation potential,” Geeseok Oh, a managing director at Qraft and the head of its Asia-Pacific business, told Barron’s.
“AI is not swayed by prejudice or bias and may pick up meme stocks if the momentum seems highly positive,” said Oh. “This month, our model found AMC more opportunistic than other meme stocks like GameStop.”
The top five stocks by portfolio weight added to AMOM in July include retailer O’Reilly Auto Parts, software group
Cadence Design Systems,
electronics store chain
biotech cancer specialist
and enterprise software developer
After the fund was rebalanced, AMOM’s five largest holdings by portfolio weight were online dating group
O’Reilly Auto Parts as well as rival
“With Covid-19 reaching new peaks, the AI made trades related to the pandemic conditions,” Oh said. “
is one of the beneficiaries of the pandemic with more people trying out online dating.
stock gained prominence with more and more governments emphasizing the importance of cybersecurity.”
Oh also added that it was noteworthy that AMOM has decided to adjust its portfolio away from very big bets—in June, the fund’s top three stocks accounted for 21% of the portfolio, but now the top three stocks account for just 11%.
“Given the volatile market sentiment, the AI seems to have adjusted portfolio and concentration to hedge against potential risks,” he said.
AMOM has been listed in New York since May 2019, and has delivered total returns of 12% so far in 2021 and 42% in the past year—outpacing its benchmark, the S&P 500 Momentum index, which has climbed a comparable 34% since July 2020.
The fund is a product of Qraft, a Seoul, South Korea-based fintech group leveraging AI across its investment products, which include three other AI-picked versions of major indexes: a U.S. large cap index
; a U.S. large cap dividend index
; and a U.S. value index
AMOM is an actively managed portfolio driven by artificial intelligence, tracking 50 large-cap U.S. stocks and reweighting its holdings each month. It is based on a momentum strategy, with the AI behind its stock picks capitalizing on the movements of existing market trends to inform the decision to add, remove, or reweight holdings. The artificial intelligence scans the market and uses its predictive power to analyze a wide set of patterns that show stock-market momentum.
The entrance of AI-run funds onto Wall Street promised a new high-tech future for investing, though it hasn’t quite lived up to the hype yet. Theoretically, researchers have shown that AI investing strategies can beat the market by up to 40% on an annualized basis, when tested against historical data.
But Vasant Dhar, a professor at New York University’s Stern School of Business and the founder of machine-learning-based hedge fund SCT Capital Management, argued in June 2020 that AI-run funds won’t “crack” the code of the stock market.
Advocating caution, Dhar said that it was difficult for funds underpinned by machine learning to maintain a sustainable edge over markets, which have “a nonstationary and adversarial nature.” He advised investors considering an AI system to ask tough questions, including how likely it is that the AI’s “edge” will persist into the future, and what the inherent uncertainties and range of performance outcomes for the fund are.