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  A Snapshot of Growth vs. Value Investing
Posted Under: Themes

 
View from the Observation Deck  
  1. We update this post every few months so that investors can see which of the two styles (growth or value) are delivering the better results. 
  2. The most recent results show that value stocks have significantly outperformed growth stocks on a 1-year and year-to-date basis.  
  3. Having said that, the S&P 500 Pure Growth Index outperformed its value counterpart in three of the six periods featured in the chart above.  
  4. The total returns through 5/16/22 were as follows (Pure Growth vs. Pure Value): 15-year avg. annual (10.78% vs. 8.12%); 10-year avg. annual (13.97% vs. 13.79%); 5-year avg. annual (11.81% vs. 9.77%); 3-year avg. annual (10.84% vs. 11.44%); 1-year (-5.47% vs. 3.77%); and year-to-date (-25.96% vs. 1.97%).
  5. As of 4/29/22, the largest sector weighting in the S&P 500 Pure Growth Index was Information Technology at 35.1%, according to S&P Dow Jones Indices. The largest sector weighting in the S&P 500 Pure Value Index was Financials at 30.0%.
  6. From 12/31/21 through 5/16/22 (YTD), the S&P 500 Information Technology Index posted a total return of -22.70%, compared to -14.50% for the S&P 500 Financials Index, according to Bloomberg. The S&P 500 Index was down 15.46% over the same period. 
  7. At a combined weighting of 26.2%, the S&P 500 Pure Value Index's exposure to Energy, Consumer Staples and Utilities was significantly higher than the 9.0% combined weighting in the S&P 500 Pure Growth Index as of 4/29/22, according to S&P Dow Jones Indices. They are the three best-performing sectors, and the only sectors in positive territory, so far in 2022.  
  8. From 12/31/21 through 5/16/22 (YTD), the S&P 500 Energy, Consumer Staples and Utilities Indices posted total returns of 50.71%, 0.97% and 0.86%, respectively, according to Bloomberg. 
  9. Value stocks have tended to outperform growth stocks when the yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note (T-note) rises, and vice versa. For the 12-month period ended 5/16/22, the yield on the 10-year T-note rose 126 basis points to 2.89%, according to Bloomberg.   
This chart is for illustrative purposes only and not indicative of any actual investment. The illustration excludes the effects of taxes and brokerage commissions or other expenses incurred when investing. Investors cannot invest directly in an index. The S&P 500 Index is an unmanaged index of 500 companies used to measure large-cap U.S. stock market performance. The S&P 500 Pure Growth Index is a style-concentrated index designed to track the performance of stocks that exhibit the strongest growth characteristics based on three factors: sales growth, the ratio of earnings-change to price, and momentum. It includes only those components of the parent index that exhibit strong growth characteristics, and weights them by growth score. Constituents are drawn from the S&P 500 Index. The S&P 500 Pure Value Index is a style-concentrated index designed to track the performance of stocks that exhibit the strongest value characteristics based on three factors: the ratios of book value, earnings, and sales to price. It includes only those components of the parent index that exhibit strong value characteristics, and weights them by value score. 

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Posted on Thursday, May 19, 2022 @ 11:21 AM • Post Link Share: 
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  A Global Snapshot Of Equity Returns Spanning The COVID-19 Pandemic
Posted Under: International-Global

 
View from the Observation Deck  
  1. Today's blog post features the total return performance figures for the major global stock indices over four specific periods since the start of 2020.
  2. The first column of total returns in the table above indicates that, with the exception of the S&P SmallCap 600 Index, U.S. equities were outperforming their foreign counterparts prior to the peak in the S&P 500 Index on 2/19/20. 
  3. Due largely to the onset of coronavirus (COVID-19), a major shift in sentiment occurred after the close of trading on 2/19/20. The second column of total returns captures the depth of the sell-off in the stock market in the U.S. and abroad. 
  4. The S&P 500 Index actually crossed over into bear market territory (a 20% or more price decline from the most recent high) at the close of trading on 3/12/20. It only took 16 trading days, the fastest path to a bear market ever. The sell-off did not cease until 3/23/20. 
  5. The third column of total returns shows the rebound is still in progress despite this year's sell-off. For the most part, U.S. equities are significantly outperforming their foreign counterparts. 
  6. The last column reflects the year-to-date total returns through 5/13/22. With the exception of the NASDAQ 100 Index, it has been more of the same with respect to U.S. stocks outperforming most of the foreign stock indices, albeit by a narrower margin. 
  7. From 12/31/19-5/13/22, the U.S. dollar rose by 8.48% against a basket of major currencies, as measured by the U.S. Dollar Index (DXY), according to Bloomberg. The jump in the U.S. dollar likely provided a drag on the performance of unhedged foreign securities held by U.S. investors over the period, in our opinion. 
  8. Foreign stocks look less expensive than U.S. equities based on their forward-looking price-to-earnings (P/E) ratios. Bloomberg's 2022 year-end P/E estimates for the major indices in the table are as follows (5/16/22): 17.66 (S&P 500); 13.00 (S&P MidCap 400); 12.76 (S&P SmallCap 600); 21.94 (Nasdaq 100); 10.97 (MSCI BRIC); 11.12 (MSCI Emerging); 12.52 (MSCI Europe); 7.01 (MSCI Latin America); and 12.64 (MSCI World ex-U.S.).   
This chart is for illustrative purposes only and not indicative of any actual investment. The illustration excludes the effects of taxes and brokerage commissions and other expenses incurred when investing. Investors cannot invest directly in an index. The S&P 500 Index is an unmanaged index of 500 stocks used to measure large-cap U.S. stock market performance. The S&P MidCap 400 Index is a capitalization-weighted index that tracks the mid-range sector of the U.S. stock market. The S&P SmallCap 600 Index is a capitalization-weighted index that tracks U.S. stocks with a small market capitalization. The NASDAQ 100 Index includes 100 of the largest domestic and non-financial companies listed on The NASDAQ Stock Market based on market capitalization. The MSCI BRIC Index is a free float-adjusted market capitalization index that is designed to measure equity market performance of Brazil, Russia, India and China. The MSCI Emerging Markets Index is a free float-adjusted market capitalization index that is designed to measure equity market performance of emerging markets. The MSCI Europe Index is a free-float weighted index designed to measure the equity market performance of the developed markets in Europe. The MSCI Emerging Markets Latin America Index is a free-float weighted index that captures large and mid-cap representation across five emerging markets in Latin America. The MSCI World (ex U.S.) Index is a free-float weighted index designed to measure the equity market performance of developed markets. The U.S. Dollar Index (DXY) indicates the general international value of the dollar relative to a basket of major world currencies.

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Posted on Tuesday, May 17, 2022 @ 12:27 PM • Post Link Share: 
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  US Stock Markets Ended May 13, 2022
Posted Under: Weekly Market Commentary

 
The S&P 500 Index declined nearly 2.5% for the week although a strong Friday session helped mitigate the pain. Growth stocks continued to pull the market down as inflation and the Fed's anticipated response are at the top of investor's minds. Growth has underperformed value by over 17% year to date in one of the greatest selloffs in high-valuation stocks since the Dot-Com Crisis. The tech-heavy Nasdaq 100 Index came close to eclipsing its maximum drawdown experienced during the Covid-19 pandemic on Thursday. Compared to the current selloff, growth stocks have only experienced equivalent drawdowns three times in the previous three decades; the Dot Com Bubble, the Global Financial Crisis of 2008, and the Covid-19 pandemic. The most significant economic report of the week was the April CPI number which surprised to the upside but showed a slight decrease in inflation from the previous month. After many economists were confident that inflation had peaked in March, the relatively close April number spooked investors with the possibility that inflation could continue to run higher. On Thursday, Jerome Powell was reaffirmed by the Senate for a second four-year term. In his prepared remarks, Powell encouraged Americans that the process of taming inflation down to 2% will require more pain to come but will ultimately be less severe than if no action were taken. The worst performing stock in the S&P 500 was Twitter (TWTR, -18.2%) as the stock plunged on Friday due to a tweet from Elon Musk that he would put the acquisition on hold, citing information found during the due diligence process that could potentially give him the opportunity to renegotiate or break the agreement. The best performing stock in the S&P 500 was Viatris (VTRS, +11.4%) which announced moderate results and benefitted from outperformance from the value-oriented side of Health Care during the week. Retail earnings are on deck in the upcoming week as investors will hear quarterly results from Ross Stores, TJX Companies, Walmart, Target, Home Depot, and Lowe's.
Posted on Monday, May 16, 2022 @ 8:07 AM • Post Link Share: 
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  US Economy and Credit Markets Ended May 13, 2022
Posted Under: Weekly Market Commentary

 
Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell has had a tumultuous first term as the Board first faced Pandemic influenced economic conditions and now historically high rates of inflation. On Thursday of last week, he received a welcome bit of good news as he was confirmed 80-19 by Senate vote to another term as Chairman for the Federal Reserve. President Biden praised the vote declaring that "tackling inflation" is his "top domestic priority" and noting that the Federal Reserve has a primary role in managing inflation. During last week the yield curve was seen flattening with the 10-year unable to hold above a 3% yield but the short end of the curve continuing to experience rising yields. High uncertainty regarding the rate of inflation made the prior week's CPI and PPI economic reports of particular interest for financial markets. The news was not favorable. The CPI registered an increase of 8.3% from the prior year period with "core" prices, those which exclude food and energy, rising 0.6%. The report was lower than March's 8.5% reading, but still came in ahead of consensus and showing no indication of inflation being transitory. On Thursday, the PPI reading was reported rising 0.5% in April with pricing rising 11% versus the prior year. Markets responded negatively, as high employment and high inflation leaves the Federal Reserve with plenty of reason to continue raising rates. Major economic reports (related consensus forecasts, prior data) for the upcoming week include Monday: May Empire Manufacturing (15, 24.6); Tuesday: April Retail Sales Advance (1.0%, 0.5%) and April Industrial Production (0.4%, 0.9%); Wednesday: May 13 MBA Mortgage Applications (n/a, 2.0%), April Housing Starts (1.76M, 1.793M); Thursday: May 14 Initial Jobless Claims (200K, 203K), April Existing Home Sales (5.62M, 5.77M) and April Leading Index (0.0%, 0.3%)
Posted on Monday, May 16, 2022 @ 8:06 AM • Post Link Share: 
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  How Defensive Sectors Have Fared During Periods Of Elevated Inflation
Posted Under: Sectors

 
View from the Observation Deck  
  1. Year-to-date through 5/10/22, the S&P 500 Index was down 15.65% on a total return basis. The question is: Could robust inflation pose even more of a threat to the broader stock market (S&P 500 Index) if sustained? 
  2. We looked back to 1990 and selected those calendar years where inflation, as measured by the Consumer Price Index (CPI), rose by 3.0% or more on a trailing 12-month basis. 
  3. Why 3.0%? From 1926-2021, the average CPI rate was 3.0%, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
  4. For comparative purposes, we selected three defensive sectors (Health Care, Consumer Staples and Utilities) to see how their returns matched up with those of the S&P 500 Index. 
  5. The premise being that defensive sectors tend to be less cyclical in nature than their counterparts and can potentially offer investors better performance results in volatile markets.     
  6. As indicated in the chart, the defensive sectors posted a good showing relative to the S&P 500 Index overall, and all three outperformed the broader market in 1990, 2000, 2007 and 2011.
  7. While all three of the defensive sectors are outperforming the S&P 500 Index so far this year, Health Care has significantly lagged both Consumer Staples and Utilities (see table). One of the key reasons for this could be tied to the Biden administration's talk of targeting rising drug prices, in our opinion. The discussion of regulatory intervention, such as potential price controls, has been a popular wedge issue in previous election years.   
This chart is for illustrative purposes only and not indicative of any actual investment. The illustration excludes the effects of taxes and brokerage commissions or other expenses incurred when investing. Investors cannot invest directly in an index. The S&P 500 Index is an unmanaged index of 500 companies used to measure large-cap U.S. stock market performance. The respective S&P 500 Sector Indices are capitalization-weighted and comprised of S&P 500 constituents representing a specific sector.

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Posted on Thursday, May 12, 2022 @ 12:24 PM • Post Link Share: 
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  Money Market Fund Assets Remain Elevated
Posted Under: Conceptual Investing

 
View from the Observation Deck  
  1. U.S. money market fund (MMF) assets totaled $4.51 trillion for the week ended 5/4/22, according to data from the ICI. The all-time high was set on 5/20/20 at $4.80 trillion. 
  2. We use the federal funds target rate (upper bound) in the chart as a proxy for short-term interest rates, such as those offered by taxable money market funds and other savings vehicles. 
  3. From March 2020 to March 2022, the Federal Reserve ("Fed") kept the federal funds target rate (upper bound) at 0.25%, according to data from the Fed. The Fed hiked 25 basis points on 3/16/22 and another 50 basis points on 5/4/22, bringing the benchmark lending rate to 1.00%. 
  4. Fed Chairman Jerome Powell has stated that the Fed is poised to raise the federal funds target rate (upper bound) by 50 basis points at each of its next two meetings (June & July), which would take the rate up to 2.00%. Data from CME Group indicates that current market pricing has the rate rising to 2.75% or 3.00% by year-end. As such, we expect MMF yields to trend higher as well in 2022. 
  5. The Fed's balance sheet of assets stood at $8.94 trillion on 5/4/22, up significantly from the $2.24 trillion level at the close of December 2008, according to data from Bloomberg. Total MMF assets currently sit approximately $700 billion above where they stood ($3.84 trillion) on 12/31/08. The Fed has stated it will be shrinking its balance sheet by $47.5 billion per month in June, July and August and then by $95 billion per month starting in September.  
  6. We will continue to monitor cash flows to see how investors respond to the Fed's tightening actions moving forward. 
This chart is for illustrative purposes only and not indicative of any actual investment. 

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Posted on Tuesday, May 10, 2022 @ 10:47 AM • Post Link Share: 
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  US Stock Markets Ended May 6, 2022
Posted Under: Weekly Market Commentary

 
Stocks traded slightly lower, measured by the S&P 500, last week after the early week rally violently reversed on Thursday into Friday. The index posted a -0.18% loss and the tech-heavy NASDAQ lost -1.5%. On Wednesday, the Federal Reserve raised the Fed funds target rate to 1% from 0.5%. The half-point move comes after consecutive quarter-point increases dating back to the end of last year. Investors grappled with the fear that an increase in interest rates by the Federal Reserve could push the economy into a recession. The jobs report on Friday also concerned the market with a drop in the labor participation rate. A lower labor participation rate could lead to wage increases and flow through to broader inflation. More visibility on the aggressiveness of the Fed's next move could come next week as some Fed officials are set to make statements on Friday. Oil closed up over $5 for the week at just under $110 a barrel. Energy companies were the big winners in the S&P 500 as the group moved over 10% higher last week. Devon Energy, Occidental Petroleum, Pioneer Natural Resources, Valero, and NRG Energy were the leaders in the S&P 500 with double-digit gains. Fourteen of the top 25 best performing names in the index were from the Energy sector. Earnings season is coming to an end with nearly 90% of the members of the S&P 500 reporting quarterly earnings and over 75% of the companies beating analyst estimates. Looking ahead to next week, CPI and PPI numbers are set to release on Wednesday and Thursday along with import and export prices on Friday.
Posted on Monday, May 9, 2022 @ 8:19 AM • Post Link Share: 
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  US Economy and Credit Markets Ended May 6, 2022
Posted Under: Weekly Market Commentary

 
Long-term Treasury yields rose significantly over the course of the week as the Federal Reserve increased interest rates 50 basis points and investors worried about stagflation. On Monday, interest rates rose moderately, and the 10-year yield briefly exceeded 3.0% for the first time since 2018.  The yield curve steepened on Wednesday as short-term yields dropped significantly, and Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said that the Fed is not actively considering a 75 basis point rate increase at the next meeting. He also said that the Fed will not begin reducing its nearly $9 Trillion balance sheet until June and that more 50 basis point rate hikes are possible at upcoming meetings. Treasury yields then rose significantly, especially amongst longer-term maturities, on Thursday and the 10-year yield closed above 3.0% as nonfarm productivity fell at an annual rate of -7.5%, the lowest level since 1947, and equities sold off. Investors continued to worry about inflation, which is growing at the fastest pace in nearly 40 years, and lower growth outlooks leading to stagflation. On Friday, long-term yields continued to rise significantly, with the 10-year yield closing above 3.1%, while the yield curve steepened with short-term yields falling. Oil continued its upward trend as the price per barrel rose 5% over the course of the week. Major economic reports (related consensus forecasts, prior data) for the upcoming week include Monday: March Final Wholesale Inventories MoM (2.3%, 2.3%); Wednesday: May 6 MBA Mortgage Applications (n/a, 2.5%), April CPI MoM (0.2%, 1.2%); Thursday: April PPI Final Demand MoM (0.5%, 1.4%), May 7 Initial Jobless Claims (190k, 200k); Friday: May Prelim. U. of Mich. Sentiment (64.0, 65.2).
Posted on Monday, May 9, 2022 @ 8:18 AM • Post Link Share: 
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  This Covered Call Index Tends To Outperform The S&P 500 When Returns Are Modest Or Down
Posted Under: Conceptual Investing

 
View from the Observation Deck  
  1. From 2003-2021, the CBOE S&P 500 BuyWrite Index (an index designed to measure a covered call strategy) outperformed the S&P 500 Index in just four of the 19 calendar years. We chose 2003 because it was the first year of a new bull market. 
  2. For comparative purposes, from 1926-2021 (96 years), the S&P 500 Index posted an average annual total return of 10.46%, according to Morningstar/Ibbotson Associates.
  3. While covered call options can generate an attractive level of current income, they can also cap the potential for capital appreciation.
  4. The use of a covered call portfolio tends to be most beneficial to investors when the stock market posts down years (2008) and when returns range from 0% to 10% (2007, 2011 and 2015), though the BuyWrite Index did not outperform the S&P 500 Index in 2005 or in 2018.
  5. Covered call writing tends to be less beneficial when stock market returns are above 10%, such as in 2010, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2016, 2017, 2019 and 2020 (see table). The strategy, however, performed well in 2021. 
  6. A Bloomberg survey of 24 equity strategists found that their average 2022 year-end price target for the S&P 500 Index was 4,868 as of 4/18/22, according to its own release. The highest and lowest estimates were 5,330 and 4,400, respectively. 
  7. As of 5/3/22, the S&P 500 Index stood at 4,175.48, which was 12.95% below its all-time high of 4,796.56 set on 1/3/22 and 16.59% below the 4,868 average 2022 price target referenced in point 6, according to Bloomberg.
  8. As of 4/29/22, Bloomberg's consensus estimated year-over-year earnings growth rates for the S&P 500 Index for 2022, 2023 and 2024 were 10.32%, 9.41% and 9.07%, respectively. 
  9. Morningstar added Options Trading to its Alternative Funds category in early 2021. Investors funneled a net $4.71 billion into Options Trading mutual funds and exchange-traded funds (ETFs) in Q1'22, according to Morningstar. Net inflows totaled $15.71 billion for the 12-month period ended 3/31/22.
  10. The CBOE S&P 500BuyWrite Index has significantly outperformed the S&P 500 Index so far in 2022 (see table). It has not outperformed the S&P 500 Index for a calendar year since 2015. Stay tuned! 
This chart is for illustrative purposes only and not indicative of any actual investment. The illustration excludes the effects of taxes and brokerage commissions or other expenses incurred when investing. Investors cannot invest directly in an index. The S&P 500 Index is an unmanaged index of 500 companies used to measure large-cap U.S. stock market performance. The CBOE S&P 500 BuyWrite Index (BXM) is designed to track a hypothetical buy-write strategy on the S&P 500. It is a passive total return index based on (1) buying an S&P 500 stock index portfolio, and (2) "writing" (or selling) the near-term S&P 500 Index (SPXSM) "covered" call option.

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Posted on Thursday, May 5, 2022 @ 10:50 AM • Post Link Share: 
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  Sector Performance Via Market Cap. (2020-2021 and YTD-4/29/22)
Posted Under: Sectors

 
View from the Observation Deck  
  1. All three S&P stock indices in the table above recently dipped into correction territory. The returns in blue ink reflect year-to-date total returns.   
  2. A correction is usually defined as a 10.00% to 19.99% decline in the price of a security or index from its most recent peak. A bear market is defined as a 20.00% or greater decline in the price of a security or index.    
  3. As of the close on 4/29/22, the S&P 500 Index stood 13.86% below its all-time closing high, according to Bloomberg. The S&P MidCap 400 and S&P SmallCap 600 Indices stood 14.10% and 17.14% below their respective all-time highs. All three major stock indices are in correction mode. 
  4. The three major indices featured in the table comprise the S&P Composite 1500 Index, which represents approximately 90% of total U.S. equity market capitalization (cap), according to S&P Dow Jones Indices. 
  5. Large-cap stocks performed significantly better than their mid- and small-cap counterparts from 2020-2021 (black columns). YTD through 4/29/22, while large-caps have topped the performance of small-caps, they have lagged mid-caps (see table above). From 12/31/19 through 4/29/22 (period covered in the table that captures the COVID-19 pandemic), the S&P 500, S&P MidCap 400 and S&P SmallCap 600 Indices posted cumulative total returns of 32.70%, 25.30% and 22.80%, respectively, according to Bloomberg. 
  6. Sector performance can vary widely by market cap (see table). A couple of the more extreme cases (2020-2021) include Information Technology, Real Estate and Utilities. So far in 2022, it is Consumer Staples, Health Care and Materials. 
  7. As of 12:00PM CST on 5/2/22, the percentage of stocks in the S&P 500, S&P MidCap 400 and S&P SmallCap 600 Indices trading above their 50-day moving averages were 21%, 19% and 19%, respectively.
  8. The percentage of stocks in the S&P 500, S&P MidCap 400 and S&P SmallCap 600 Indices trading above their 200-day moving averages were 32%, 26% and 24%, respectively.
  9. Moving averages tend to smooth out day-to-day price fluctuations and can be a useful tool for traders and investors to identify both positive trends and reversals, in our opinion. 
This chart is for illustrative purposes only and not indicative of any actual investment. The illustration excludes the effects of taxes and brokerage commissions and other expenses incurred when investing. Investors cannot invest directly in an index. The S&P 500 Index is an unmanaged index of 500 stocks used to measure large-cap U.S. stock market performance. The S&P MidCap 400 Index is a capitalization-weighted index that tracks the mid-range sector of the U.S. stock market. The S&P SmallCap 600 Index is a capitalization-weighted index that tracks U.S. stocks with a small market capitalization. The 11 major sector indices are capitalization-weighted and comprised of S&P 500, S&P MidCap 400 and S&P SmallCap 600 constituents representing a specific sector.

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Posted on Tuesday, May 3, 2022 @ 10:08 AM • Post Link Share: 
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These posts were prepared by First Trust Advisors L.P., and reflect the current opinion of the authors. They are based upon sources and data believed to be accurate and reliable. Opinions and forward looking statements expressed are subject to change without notice. This information does not constitute a solicitation or an offer to buy or sell any security.
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