Category Archives: Strategy

What is VIX Predicting about Future Volatility?

VIX® closed last night at 11.33.  What, if anything, does that mean? We recently published a research paper, together with a more digestible practitioner’s guide, that provides a method for converting a given VIX level into an expectation for S&P 500® volatility over the next 30 days.  Exhibit 1 shows that these estimates have provided Read more […]

How Low Can Volatility Go?

There’s still some time remaining in 2017, but if it goes the way the year has thus far, this will be the least volatile year for the S&P 500 in 22 years. Given this context, selection to the S&P 500® Low Volatility Index (an index of the 100 least volatile stocks in the S&P 500) Read more […]

Getting What You Pay For

Earlier this week, the Wall Street Journal featured a long article arguing that Morningstar’s star ratings for mutual funds were a “mirage.”   Since these ratings exert a powerful influence over fund flows, their usefulness is obviously of keen interest to investors.  To its credit, Morningstar, although arguing that its ratings are a “worthwhile starting point,” Read more […]

Stock Picking AI? Elementary, My Dear Watson

Keen watchers of the ever-developing exchange-traded product space may have noticed an intriguing development last week, as the first purely “artificial intelligence”-based stock-picking ETF launched.  Powered by IBM’s “Watson” platform, the fund sponsors claim to use a proprietary quantitative model to select stocks that will outperform, based on machine learning applied to vast data sets. One cannot help wondering Read more […]

Low Volatility, VIX and Behavioral Finance

As this week’s award of the Nobel Prize in Economics to Richard Thaler confirmed, the existence of behavioral biases in finance is no longer a controversial theory.   People often prefer a small chance of a large gain to a near-certain chance of a small gain, even if the expected return from the latter is higher.  Read more […]

Financials Gain More Prominence in Latest Low Vol Rebalance

Volatility has been generally subdued so far this year.  In the latest rebalance, the S&P 500® Low Volatility Index’s most significant sector shift was to Financials (adding 5% to bring the sector to 21% of the index).  Allocation in the remaining sectors did not deviate too far from the last rebalance. Technology’s weight, which increased Read more […]

Exploring Dividends in Peru

What does it mean when we talk about dividends?  When a company pays dividends, it shows that it is generating enough flow and profits, and that it seeks to generate an additional flow to its shareholders. In May 2016, S&P DJI published a research paper entitled “Exploring Liquidity and Dividends in Peru.”[1]  This report identified Read more […]

Bubbles and Housing

Home prices nationally are rising two to three times faster than inflation. They are up 5.5% from a year ago with some cities rising at double-digit rates. Looking at the chart of the S&P Corelogic Case-Shiller Home Price Indices, many are wondering if we’re in another housing bubble. While prices are rising, the following charts Read more […]

VIX Hit Below 10 in Q2: What Do We Know From the Past?

With the French election ending in the defeat of Le Pen, one more risk factor has been removed from the table and low volatility has returned.  In Q2, the CBOE Volatility Index (VIX®) fell below 10 seven times, and the closing level of 9.75 on June 2, 2017, was the lowest since 1993.  Do these Read more […]

Mightier than Le Pen

We publish a series of dashboards at the end of each month to summarize market performance in a number of regions. These dashboards include monthly reports on Risk and Volatility, as well as Factor Dashboards for the U.S. and for Europe on a quarterly basis. With June behind us, a half-yearly summary is in order. Read more […]