Category Archives: Strategy

Low Volatility Index Shows Its Utility

The S&P 500 Low Volatility Index® made a valiant comeback in late 2018 after trailing for most of the year.  The strategy index finished the year well by just staying in positive territory at a 0.27% gain, when the broader S&P 500 declined 4%.  It was also the best performing factor index among those based Read more […]

Confusing Style and Selection

A headline from yesterday was very intriguing: “Why investors crave a return to the art of stock-picking.”  Copious data demonstrate the peril of placing hope in active management.  The article argues that since we seem to be in a trend that favors value, it is a good time for managers to pick stocks based on Read more […]

Volatility and Active Management

Recently, a number of reports highlighted a surge in popularity for actively managed U.S. equity funds in 2019.  The main explanation for this trend appears to be the volatility observed in the final few months of 2018: market participants seem to believe active managers are better able to navigate more volatile markets.  However, the data Read more […]

S&P Pure Style Indices: Implications of Higher Return and Correlation Spread

The S&P Style Indices and S&P Pure Style Indices take distinct approaches in differentiating between value and growth factors. In past blogs,[1] we examined how differences in index construction can affect the performance of the indices in both series over a long-term investment horizon. In this blog, we examine how the suite of pure style Read more […]

Active Management for Volatile Times?

This morning brought a report that “retail investors have returned to Wall Street, pouring money into mutual funds focused on US equities for the first time since early 2015, according to data from TrimTabs Investment Research…. ‘Maybe people think, in times of higher volatility, active managers will do a better job,’ Winston Chua, an analyst Read more […]

As goes January, so … what?

“The more you look at ‘common knowledge’, the more you realise that it is more likely to be common than it is to be knowledge” – Idries Shah, Reflections Statements such as “sell in May and go away” can become accepted wisdom without always facing proper scrutiny.  Another aphorism, particularly timely at the present moment, is Read more […]

Style Designed For Performance

Style, the name for the value (growth) factor, is one of the oldest known investment factors.  It can be defined in different ways, but in the S&P Composite 1500 that includes the S&P 500, S&P MidCap 400 and S&P SmallCap 600, style is measured by growth and value along two separate dimensions, with three factors used to Read more […]

Reviewing S&P Pure Style Indices from a Sector Perspective

The S&P Pure Style Indices select and weight securities based on their style scores, unlike the traditional S&P Style Indices. In our previous blog post, we demonstrated that differences in index construction play a major role in the performance differential between the S&P Style Indices and the S&P Pure Style Indices. We estimated that the Read more […]

S&P Pure Style Indices Versus S&P Style Indices: The Impact of Security Selection and Weighting on Excess Returns

The S&P Style Indices and the S&P Pure Style Indices have distinct long-term performance differences and risk/return characteristics. We highlighted those in a prior blog where we reviewed the two approaches to constructing traditional style and pure style indices. What are the drivers of the return differentials between pure style and style? We know that Read more […]

An Unfair Fight: Value Managers Were Crushed

When I was in the U.S. Army, the doctrine for an attack specified a desired ratio of at least three of us versus every one of them. This would help to ensure an unfair fight. When your life is on the line, you want the odds in your favor. Why should that desire to tilt Read more […]