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Craig Lazzara

Managing Director and Global Head of Index Investment Strategy, S&P Dow Jones Indices

Craig Lazzara is Managing Director and Global Head of Index Investment Strategy for S&P Dow Jones Indices (S&P DJI). The index investment strategy team provides research and commentary across the S&P DJI product set, with particular focus on the active-passive debate, factor indices, and index dynamics. Craig previously served as product manager for S&P DJI’s U.S. equity and real estate indices. These include the S&P 500® and the S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller Home Price Indices, two of the most widely tracked benchmarks in the world.
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Jun 9, 2021

Riding the Value Wave

U.S. equity markets seemed to undergo a fundamental change of direction in September of last year. Exhibit 1 illustrates the shift; our growth indices, which had outperformed value handily through the end of August, have lagged ever since. The spreads between growth and value are even greater when we compute them using our Pure Growth…

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May 12, 2021

Equity: Diversity and Inclusion

We can think of an active equity portfolio as a combination of a benchmark (the S&P 500®, for example) and a set of active bets that measure the portfolio’s deviation from the benchmark. The relative size of the active bets is sometimes called “active share,” and is a convenient way to judge a manager’s aggressiveness….

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Apr 29, 2021

Woodstock for Capitalists

Berkshire Hathaway is scheduled to hold its annual shareholders’ meeting this Saturday, May 1. This is the second consecutive year in which the meeting will be virtual; in 2019, attendance was nearly 40,000, which makes social distancing somewhat difficult. We noted two years ago that Berkshire’s investment performance, though formidable over the long run, had…

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Mar 18, 2021

SPIVA and Style

Last week S&P Dow Jones Indices released its SPIVA® U.S. Year-End 2020 Scorecard. As has been the case for 17 of the past 20 calendar years, the majority of active large-cap managers underperformed the S&P 500®. Performance was better for mid- and small-cap managers, as Exhibit 1 shows. What caused the advantage for smaller-capitalization strategies?…

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Feb 23, 2021

Man Bites Dog: The Year for Active Management?

For at least five years, we’ve noticed that, despite historical performance, active managers regularly proclaim that this year will at last be the time when active management shows its value. I suspect that most advocates of indexing derive at least some guilty pleasure from observing this ritual. (I know I do.) So, we want to…

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Feb 3, 2021

Efficient Markets and Irrational Exuberance

Recent headlines have reflected the extraordinary behavior of GameStop Corp.; the company’s stock rose from $18.84 at year-end 2020 to $325 at the close on Jan. 29, 2021, then declined to $90 in the first two trading days of February. At year-end, GameStop was the 314th largest stock in the S&P SmallCap 600®. By the…

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Jan 4, 2021

Persistence

Lyndon Baines Johnson became President of the United States at a moment of national trauma, and left office at a time of tremendous political division. Despite a landslide electoral victory in 1964 and notable legislative achievements, his was not a happy presidency. LBJ observed, in fact, that “being President is like being a jackass in…

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Dec 9, 2020

The Distribution of Alpha

Investment management is a zero sum game. The source of outperformance for a market’s outperformers is the underperformance of the same market’s underperformers. Properly measured, the weighted average sum of the winners’ gains is exactly equal (before costs) to the weighted average sum of the losers’ losses. This identity, along with the professionalization of the…

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Dec 1, 2020

The Dangers of Extrapolation

The contrasts between the first 10 months of 2020 and the month of November were vivid. Consider: At the end of October, the year-to-date total return of the S&P 500® was barely positive (2.77%), but was well ahead of the returns of the S&P MidCap 400® (-6.63%) and the S&P SmallCap 600® (-13.06%). In November,…

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Nov 10, 2020

Why Cap Weighting?

Journalists and others occasionally offer comparisons of capitalization-weighted index funds with other weighting schemes. Some of these efforts are more useful than others, but none, in my experience, identify the question that cap-weighted indices were initially designed to answer, and which accounts for their enduring economic significance. That question is, simply put: What is the…

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