Get Indexology® Blog updates via email.

In This List

Measuring the Impact of Generosity

Navigating Climate Risk with Indices

S&P China 500 Fell 10.5% in Q3, Pushed Lower by Consumer and Tech Stocks

S&P Global Clean Energy Index: A Path toward Greater Transparency

Volatility Returned in Q3 2021 with Latin American Equities Posting Mixed Results amid Political and Economic Uncertainty

Measuring the Impact of Generosity

How do the philanthropic efforts of public companies impact returns? S&P DJI’s Michael Mell explores a custom index designed to track the 50 most generous companies with Earl Bridges, CEO of Uncommon Giving and Claire Gaudiani, Board Member at Uncommon Investment Funds Trust and author of The Greater Good: How Philanthropy Drives the American Economy and Can Save Capitalism.

The posts on this blog are opinions, not advice. Please read our Disclaimers.

Navigating Climate Risk with Indices

How can indices bring greater transparency to climate risk? Designed to go beyond the requirements of EU Low Carbon Benchmark minimum standards, the  S&P Paris-Aligned & Climate Transition Indices were created to help market participants looking to chart a path to net zero by 2050.

The posts on this blog are opinions, not advice. Please read our Disclaimers.

S&P China 500 Fell 10.5% in Q3, Pushed Lower by Consumer and Tech Stocks

Contributor Image
John Welling

Director, Equity Indices

S&P Dow Jones Indices

The S&P China 500 declined 10.5% during Q3 2021, succumbing to dramatic losses across consumer- and technology-driven companies. Performance also continued to lag the broader S&P Emerging BMI and S&P Developed BMI, which fell 6.2% and 0.4%, respectively.

China’s Underperformance versus Regional Peers

The index likewise trailed regional benchmarks YTD—the S&P China 500 was down 7.3%, while the S&P Hong Kong BMI declined slightly (down 1.8% YTD) and the S&P Taiwan BMI (up 18.4% YTD) and S&P India BMI (up 31.1% YTD) enjoyed robust gains.

Exposure to China-domiciled technology- and consumer-related sectors also contributed to the underperformance, as recent regulations and new listing requirements took hold. Broader emerging markets, meanwhile, tend to be dominated by more traditional sectors including Financials, Energy, and Materials, which lent support to returns.

Onshore stocks outperformed offshore listings YTD, as the S&P China A BMI gained 3.0%, compared with the S&P China ex-A Share BMI, which sank 18.4%. Given its diversified composition across all Chinese share classes and sectors, the S&P China 500 posted performance ahead of most major Chinese equity benchmarks, while somewhat lagging onshore-only indices YTD.

Sector Performance Favored Energy and Materials while Consumer and Info Tech Fell

Four of 11 sectors finished the quarter in positive territory, led by Utilities (up 21.1%) and followed by Energy (up 16.6%), as renewable energy companies surged on a shift in economic policy, and general increases for energy—from any source—coincided with global supply shortages. Meanwhile, declines in Information Technology (down 9.1%) and Consumer Discretionary (down 23.4%)—which together represent nearly one-third of the S&P China 500—contributed to over one-half of the index performance during the quarter.

Consumer-driven tech companies had the greatest negative impact on quarterly performance, as the performance of Alibaba (down 34.7%), Tencent (down 21.2%), Meituan (down 23.2%), NIO (down 33.0%), and Wuliangye Yibin (down 26.4%) affected the index heavily, together contributing over one-half of the overall index declines during the period.

Other notable themes included a surge in rare-earth mining companies—who supply to chip makers—which lifted Materials (up 32.5%), while the precipitous decline of property company Evergrande (down 71.0%) drove the narrative for Real Estate (down 9.5%) and reverberated throughout the economy.

Price Declines Led to More Favorable Valuation Metrics

The S&P China 500 trailing P/E reduced noticeably to 15.8x in Q3 (18.7x in the prior quarter), as prices declined, making for the third straight quarterly decline (20.5x for Q4 2020), nearing the 10-year average of 14.2x. Meanwhile, the rolling one-, three-, and five-year P/E ratios remained elevated compared with the longer-term average. The broad-based S&P Emerging BMI trailing P/E remained slightly more elevated in comparison, at 16.2x at the quarter’s end (20.5x prior). The S&P China 500 dividend yield, meanwhile, increased from 1.51% to 1.69% on a quarterly basis.

The posts on this blog are opinions, not advice. Please read our Disclaimers.

S&P Global Clean Energy Index: A Path toward Greater Transparency

Contributor Image
Ari Rajendra

Senior Director, Strategy & Volatility Indices

S&P Dow Jones Indices

In April 2021, the S&P Global Clean Energy Index underwent changes to reduce constituent concentration, ease liquidity limitations, and improve index replication. The total number of constituents rose, and the weighting scheme was modified. As a provider of choice, S&P DJI also launched a focused index, the S&P Global Clean Energy Select Index, which consists of the top 30 clean-energy-related stocks derived from the broader S&P Global Clean Energy Index.

As part of the initial consultation in March 2021, the Index Committee proposed a follow up consultation for further enhancements to the index methodology. This was issued on Aug. 20, 2021, and the results were announced on Sept. 21, 2021. The confirmed changes are intended to improve transparency, enhance diversification, further reduce the index’s carbon footprint, and align the index methodology with market trends and sustainable investing norms.

October 2021 Rebalance Incorporates Part of the Announced Changes

Except for the inclusion of emerging markets-listed companies to increase diversification, all changes took effect after close on Oct. 15, 2021, coinciding with the semiannual review for the S&P Global Clean Energy Index and S&P Global Clean Energy Select Index. Exhibit 1 summarizes changes for these indices.

Improved Selection and Scoring Transparency (Effective October 2021)

A notable change in the October rebalance was the move toward a more systematic implementation of a core part of the methodology. Through the introduction of FactSet’s Revere Business Industry Classification System (RBICS) and S&P Global Trucost’s Power Generation Data, the new methodology seeks to improve transparency for selection and scoring of clean-energy-related companies. Clear thresholds have been defined, using power generation and revenue datasets, to determine a company’s involvement in clean-energy-related businesses. This is a positive step forward for the S&P Global Clean Energy Index series since its launch in 2007, as S&P DJI continues to review and adopt new capabilities to its indices.

Stricter ESG Standards (Effective October 2021)

The existing carbon screening rule was modified1 to improve its effectiveness, thereby reducing the carbon footprint. Previously, all eligible stocks, including those with lower exposure scores (0.75 and 0.5),2 were used to calculate the distribution of carbon-to-revenue footprints, which was subsequently used to determine cut-off thresholds at which companies were excluded. The revised rule states that this distribution will now be determined only by companies in the preliminary universe that have maximum clean energy exposure (i.e., exposure score 1). This change lowers the average and narrows the carbon footprint distribution, which in turn results in a lower and stricter cut-off threshold.

In addition to modifying the carbon screen, S&P DJI announced the introduction of exclusion criteria (Sustainalytics Business Activity Screenings, Sustainalytics Global Standards Screening, and Media and Stakeholder Analysis Overlay) to monitor for controversial behavior, involvement in specific business activities, and adherence to international norms and standards. The impact of these screens is shown in Exhibit 3.

Emerging Markets-Listed Stocks to Become Eligible (Effective April 2022)

While the scope of the index objective will remain the same, the consultation results confirmed the expansion to include emerging markets-listed companies. This change will only apply to the S&P Global Clean Energy Index and will take effect starting April 2022. Once effective, emerging markets could represent close to 15% of the index, and we anticipate the index target constituent count to rise to 100, based on preliminary projections. While this could be subject to change, we also expect the number of exposure score 1 stocks to rise, which would lead to a higher overall exposure to clean energy (index weighted average exposure score estimated to be 0.95).

The clean energy segment continues to be in the spotlight with increased spending on renewable power3 required to meet global climate change objectives. As this segment continues to grow, the evolution of the S&P Global Clean Energy Index Series offers a pure, liquid, and transparent exposure to clean energy.

1    The carbon-to-revenue footprint standard score is calculated for each stock in the preliminary universe. The score is calculated by subtracting the mean carbon-to-revenue footprint of all preliminary universe stocks with an exposure score of 1 as of the rebalancing reference date from each stock’s carbon-to-revenue footprint, and then dividing the difference by the standard deviation (also determined based on preliminary universe stocks with an exposure score of 1). The top and bottom 5% are excluded from the mean and standard deviation calculations. Companies with a score greater than 3 will not be eligible for inclusion.

2    All companies in the S&P Global Clean Energy Index universe are assigned exposure scores that denote their involvement in clean-energy-related businesses. An exposure score of 1 is assigned to companies with maximum clean energy exposure, 0.75 to companies with significant clean energy exposure, 0.5 to companies with moderate clean energy exposure, and 0 to companies with no exposure.

3    Financial Times – IEA warns spending on clean energy must triple to curb climate change.

The posts on this blog are opinions, not advice. Please read our Disclaimers.

Volatility Returned in Q3 2021 with Latin American Equities Posting Mixed Results amid Political and Economic Uncertainty

Contributor Image
Silvia Kitchener

Director, Global Equity Indices, Latin America

S&P Dow Jones Indices

Latin American equities had a rough Q3 2021, as the S&P Latin America BMI fell 14.7% in USD terms, driven by a steep drop in Brazilian equities and the U.S. dollar strengthening against local currencies. This weak result offset sizable gains from earlier in 2021, leaving the regional benchmark with a 7% loss YTD. However, on a 12-month horizon, the S&P Latin America BMI remained up 25.4%, outperforming the S&P Emerging BMI by about 5%.

While recent political uncertainty and civil unrest in the region have contributed to these results, on a global perspective, events abroad also have had an impact on equities, with emerging markets being the most affected. The S&P 500® ended the quarter nearly flat, up 0.6%, after reaching new records during late August and early September. Uncertainty over China’s Evergrande Group’s debt negotiations also had a negative effect on global markets; the S&P/BMV China SX20 lost 15.7% and the S&P Emerging BMI decreased 6.2% during Q3.

However, at a country level, results were mixed. The countries that performed the best during Q3 were Argentina, Colombia, and Mexico, which had positive returns in local currency as demonstrated by the S&P MERVAL Index (24.0%), the S&P Colombia Select Index (8.7%), and the S&P/BMV IRT (2.8%), respectively. The case of Argentina is particularly noteworthy, with the S&P MERVAL Index posting solid returns of 51.0% in local currency and 28.7% in U.S. dollar terms YTD, making it an outlier in the region. On the flip side, the S&P Brazil BMI and the S&P/BVL Peru Select 20% Capped Index were the underperformers of the group in Q3, down 13.9% and 4.9%, respectively. Chile’s S&P IPSA was nearly flat for the quarter.

All sectors across the S&P Latin America BMI posted negative returns in Q3. Procyclical sectors, such as Consumer Discretionary, Information Technology, and Materials, were the most affected, losing 32.6%, 28.2%, and 21.4%, respectively. Defensive sectors, such as Real Estate and Utilities, had better relative performance, losing only 12.7% and 7.8%, respectively. Lastly, the sole bright spot during the quarter from the sector perspective was Communication Services, which ended nearly flat.

Spotlight: Factor Indices in Brazil and Mexico

In times of high volatility, it is interesting to see how different factor indices perform under current market conditions. Perhaps unsurprisingly, we saw that in Brazil and Mexico, value, low volatility, and risk-weighted indices performed best in Q3, as lower volatility and value-oriented companies were in favor in a generally risk-off environment. In Q3, the S&P/BMV IPC CompMx Enhanced Value Index gained 2.3% in MXN, while the S&P/B3 Enhanced Value Index returned -1.9% in BRL.

Shifting focus to the longer term, we see that the majority of factor indices outperformed the broader market over the past 10 years, illustrating the benefits of using a non-market-cap-weighted indexing approach.

As the end of the year approaches, many risks are still clouding equity markets in Latin America. The continued spread of COVID-19 variants continues despite increased vaccination rates. Important local elections that will shape the new policies of several countries in the region are also slated to occur. Stay tuned for what promises to be an exciting year end in the region.

For more information on how Latin American benchmarks performed in Q1 2021, read our latest Latin America Scorecard.

The posts on this blog are opinions, not advice. Please read our Disclaimers.