Category Archives: Smart Beta

Indexing Alternatives To Survive Brexit

Following the vote by UK citizens to officially leave the European Union, the S&P 500 lost 5.3% in 2 days (Jun. 24-27, 2016) before gaining back 4.5% for a total loss 1.1% through July 5.  In those two down days, gold posted its best consecutive 2-day gain since Aug. 8-9, 2011.  Gold is known as a Read more […]

Growth, Value and Apple

The news that Berkshire Hathaway purchased a billion dollars of Apple stock sparked questions – Will S&P DJI re-classify Apple as a value stock? How are stocks divided between growth and value? Among growth and value, which is ahead year-to-date? Currently S&P DJI classifies Apple as a growth stock. Growth-value classifications are reviewed annually in December Read more […]

Who’s Afraid of a Carbon Tax?

As far as equity investors might experience them, the risks of a potential “carbon tax” are more easily fathomed than the rewards.  Emissions data are available for most large companies and – taking basic assumptions on the likely form of taxation – we can easily examine which market segments face the greater risks. Estimating The Impact Read more […]

The Teleology of Smart Beta

As assets tracking factor indices grow, so does the attention paid to evaluating and promoting these so-called “smart beta” funds.  Even the nomenclature attracts attention.  Professor William Sharpe, famous among other things for introducing the concept of beta to academic finance, has said that the term “smart beta” makes him “definitionally sick,” and lesser lights than Read more […]

In Search of the Low Volatility Anomaly

By now we’re very familiar with the oft discussed “Low Vol Anomaly”. Diverging from conventional finance theory, which tells us that risk and return are directly related, low volatility stocks have outperformed over time and, as expected, with lower volatility. Ample research and evidence point to the existence of a low volatility factor comparable to Read more […]

Volatility, Short- and Long-term

This morning’s Financial Times highlighted a study of market volatility suggesting that return and volatility are inversely related — that “the correct response to an increase in volatility…is to exit the market.” This is certainly true in the short run, as the table below confirms. In months when the realized volatility of the S&P 500 was above Read more […]

The Role of Quality in Long-Term Value Creation

  This is the third in a series of blog posts relating to the launch of the S&P Long-Term Value Creation (LTVC) Global Index. In the last blog, we discussed how long-term investing requires looking at metrics that go beyond the standard GAAP financial accounting measures and why the Economic Dimension (ED) score from RobecoSAM Read more […]

Low Vol: A little goes a long way

We’ve written at length of the many historical benefits of the low volatility anomaly. The S&P 500 Low Volatility Index selects the 100 least- volatile members of the S&P 500 index; lacking any sector constraints, the index seeks to provide pure exposure to the low volatility factor. In doing this, it has experienced a large tracking Read more […]

Watch Your Weight: How a Few Stocks Can Tilt the Scales

Not all indexes are created equal. That’s because they weight the individual holdings differently. Market-cap indexes provide the largest weighting to the largest holdings regardless of fundamental characteristics, whereas fundamental indexes break the link between price and weight. With the proliferation of smart beta strategies, investors have more access and choice to select alternative weighting Read more […]

Making the Patient Sicker

Years ago, I saw a cartoon picturing two Victorian-era doctors discussing a patient.  “What did you prescribe for Jones’ rheumatism?” asked the first; the second answered “A cold bath and a brisk walk every morning.”  “Good God, man, that will give him pneumonia!” said the first.  “I know,” replied the second doctor, “I made my reputation curing that.” Somehow Read more […]