Category Archives: Factors

What’s Inside the S&P China A-Share Factor Indices? Sector Allocation versus Stock-Selection Effect

After examining the risk factor exposure of the S&P China A-Share Factor Indices in our previous blog, we further explore the sector bias and associated impact on index performance. Apart from the S&P China A-Share Enhanced Value Index, all the S&P China A-Share Factor Indices tended to underweight the Financials sector,[1] though other unique sector Read more […]

The Calm That Was

Through the end of July, equities had netted a nice gain for 2019 (though the picture looks a lot different so far in August). Unusually, the S&P 500 Low Volatility Index® outperformed in an environment when it has typically lagged its benchmark. (The S&P 500 gained 20.2%, while the low volatility index was up 20.8%, Read more […]

Concentration Concerns

Readers of this morning’s Wall Street Journal learned (on the front page, no less) that many of the largest investors in the U.S. equity market hold similar portfolios.  “The overlap in the top 50 stockholdings between mutual funds and hedge funds…now stands at near-record levels, a study by Bank of America Merrill Lynch found.”  An Read more […]

What’s inside the S&P China A-Share Factor Indices? The Impact of Style Risk Factors

In our previous blog, our studies indicated that most factor indices in China exhibited distinct return characteristics during up and down markets. To understand the sources that drive differential factor performance, we examined the risk factor exposures and factor impact on the performance of S&P China A-Share Factor Indices[1] based on the Axioma AXCN4-MH China Read more […]

Why the Volatility Spike is the Low Volatility Strategy’s Best Friend

The first half of 2019 saw one of the biggest rallies in the domestic market; the S&P 500® rose 18.54% on a total return basis despite concerns of slow economic growth, a trade war, and a possible rate hike. During the same period, the S&P 500 Low Volatility Index surprised the market and rose even Read more […]

Understanding the ESG Consequences of Factor-Based Investing: Part 2

    In our previous blog, we looked at the S&P Factor Indices’ ESG exposures, showing that factor exposures can have an influence on ESG scores. In this blog, we’ll discuss these scores at the sector level and see how implementing an ESG or carbon reduction strategy on poorer ESG-performing factor indices can help investors Read more […]

Carlos Urzúa Resignation and Low Volatility’s Response

Mexico’s Finance Minister, Carlos Urzúa, abruptly resigned on July 9, 2019 over policy disagreements with the current government.[1] Market participants reacted negatively, generating volatility in the Mexican peso’s exchange rate, which fell 2.3% right after the announcement,[2] and the country’s equity market, and bringing a trial by fire for the S&P/BMV IPC Risk Weighted Index Read more […]

The Importance of Being Large-Cap

The performance of U.S. equity factors during Q2 was lackluster, with most underperforming the S&P 500, as seen in Exhibit 1.  While Minimum Volatility and Low Volatility were notable exceptions, Value, Quality, High Beta, and Momentum all lagged the benchmark – in large part because of their tilt toward smaller companies.  Since most factor indices Read more […]

Understanding the ESG Consequences of Factor-Based Investing: Part 1

    “Sustainable investing must go mainstream. Fortunately, the momentum is growing.” – Mark Carney Mark Carney’s statement underpins the sentiment of the investment community, where environmental, social, and governance (ESG) considerations have entered the forefront of investors’ priorities. Whether factor indices have ESG principles integrated or not, understanding a factor’s influence on ESG characteristics, Read more […]

Four Decades of the Low Volatility Factor

Many financial theories are based on the idea that riskier investments should offer higher returns.  However, there is a bank of evidence – accumulated since the 1970s – showing that less volatile stocks posted higher risk-adjusted returns across a number of time horizons, regions, and market segments, historically. S&P Dow Jones Indices produces a range Read more […]