Category Archives: S&P 500 & DJIA

Despite strong double-digit gains in the equity markets last year, S&P 500 issues posted record pension and OPEB underfunding in 2012

Despite strong double-digit gains in the equity markets last year, S&P 500 issues posted record pension and OPEB underfunding in 2012. The double-digit equity gains of 2012 were no match for the artificially low interest rates which vaulted pension liabilities into record underfunding territory. Companies have only 77 cents for each dollar they owe in Read more […]

Inside the S&P 500: Float adjustment

Most stock indices where the weight of each stock depends on its market value are “float adjusted” meaning that the index only counts those shares that are available to investors and excludes closely held shares or shares held by governments or other companies. The S&P 500 moved to float adjustment in in 2004-2005.  Initially many Read more […]

When Diversification Fails

Diversification means different things in different contexts.  We can speak, for example, of diversification within an equity portfolio — i.e., of holding a number of stocks with potentially-offsetting risks, as opposed to concentrating on only one issue or on a handful of similar stocks.  Or we can think of diversification across asset classes — e.g., Read more […]

What’s in a Name

Picking the right ETF among the hundreds that are currently available is certainly a formidable task for many investors – one that has been made more difficult by iShares recent announcement that it is removing index names from a number of its ETFs. Why should this raise concerns for investors and for the financial industry Read more […]

25 and Counting for the Dow

The number 25.  Christmas Day.  The atomic number of manganese.  The jersey number typically reserved for a baseball team’s best slugger.  And to date in 2013, the number of new highs hit by the Dow Jones Industrial Average.  Year to date through Friday (July 12) the Dow, ending the session at 15,464.30, has closed at Read more […]

Inside the S&P 500: Selecting Stocks

This is the first of a series of posts describing how S&P Dow Jones Indices and its US Index Committee maintain the S&P 500. Future posts will cover how stocks react when added to the index, the mix of sectors and industries in the index, the Index Committee and how the index can be used Read more […]

Getting What You Pay For

Today’s Wall Street Journal, among others, reported on a recent study by the Maryland Public Policy Institute arguing that the public pension funds which pay the highest fees haven’t reaped the highest investment returns.  In fact, the study shows, it’s just the opposite — for the 5 years ended June 2012, the 10 states which Read more […]

Dividends: Love’m or Leave’m

Now that the short-term speculators have left the dividend market, core investors can get back to their boring stocks, collecting their tax advantaged yield (you may not like the increase to 20% from 15%, but I remember when it was 70%, and that was before New York State, City or unincorporated business tax got hold of Read more […]

A Conventional Down Month

Whenever you want to argue that rising interest rates are bad for the stock market, count June 2013 as a point in your favor.  The long end of the US Treasury yield curve notched a -4.07% decline in June (following May’s -6.71% tumble), as rates on the S&P/BGCantor 20+ Year US Treasury Index rose by 66 Read more […]

Damage Control

Compared to a month ago, every major developed equity market is down, some by double digits while bond yields have climbed over the same period.  The U.S. markets – both stocks and bonds — are among the least damaged.  For investors the questions are when will it end?, where can one hide? and why? When Read more […]