Category Archives: Factors

The S&P 500 Quality Index: Attributes and Performance Drivers

COVID-19 driven volatility has caused market participants to refocus on defensive strategies. As investors turned to quality, the S&P 500® Quality Index demonstrated better downside protection and outperformed. Furthermore, it offered a sizable dividend yield of 2.2%. This analysis investigates attributes of the index. Breaking Down Components From all-time highs on Feb. 19, 2020, to Read more […]

Low Volatility Response in Brazil

The S&P/B3 Low Volatility Index Celebrates Five Years of Outperforming Its Benchmark The COVID-19 pandemic hit the Brazilian equity market hard, causing the worst monthly performance since September 1999.[1] As measured by the S&P Brazil BMI, the Brazilian equity market lost 29.80% in March 2020. The S&P/B3 Low Volatility Index exceeded its benchmark by 640 Read more […]

Delivering Low Volatility Exposure to High Yield Bonds

The last few weeks have been challenging for business the world over. People working from home and aggressive social distancing have led to business contraction and the expectation of rising default. On March 19, 2020, an S&P report expected that the U.S. trailing 12-month speculative-grade corporate default rate would rise to 10% within the next Read more […]

Putting Defensive Indices to the Test

In January 2019, we highlighted several indices designed to reduce the impact of large equity market drawdowns. Here we analyze the same suite of indices divided across three broad categories: defensive equity, multi-asset, and volatility. This analysis simply reviews performance since the S&P 500®’s high on Feb. 19, 2020, through the close on Friday, March Read more […]

Cushioning the Decline

With the S&P 500 down -14.7% for calendar 2020, and -18.8% since its peak in late February, investors are rightly concerned to identify strategies that might help to mitigate the ongoing decline.  A number of defensive factor indices have performed relatively well in March, but the leader for the year so far is S&P 500 Read more […]

The Irrelevance of Value in Low Volatility

Low volatility strategies have achieved considerable market acceptance in the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis.  For most of the 12 years since then, skeptics have argued that low vol might become, and sometimes that it has become, overvalued.  It’s an understandable concern, especially in light of the continuing popularity of low volatility strategies. We Read more […]

Profiling the “Personality” of 2 Dividend Strategies – A Factor Look: Part 2

What story is Optimal Asset Management’s Factor Allocator’s analysis trying to tell us?  First, it is important to note each strategy has a factor fit quality reading above 80% (the S&P 500 High Dividend Index – 83.72% and the S&P 500 Dividend Aristocrats – 87.62%) which means the analysis of factor exposures appears useful in Read more […]

Profiling the “Personality” of 2 Dividend Strategies – A Factor Look

How do the personalities of two dividend index portfolios look when reviewed under the “Factor Lens”? Using the Optimal Asset Management’s Factor Allocator tool, let’s review two strategies – S&P 500 Dividend Aristocrats and the S&P 500 High Dividend Index. We can identify the average factor exposures of each strategy since January 1995 by viewing Read more […]

Protection and Participation

Through Feb. 20, 2020, the S&P 500 Low Volatility Index® is up 5.9% compared to a gain of 4.7% for the S&P 500. Equities roared out of the gate in 2020 but a hiccup in late January allowed Low Vol to catch up and eventually overtake the S&P 500. Those who are familiar with low Read more […]

Integrating Low-Carbon with Single Factors in Asia

Factor investing in Asia has grown at a rapid pace, with smart beta passive AUM growing at a 42% compound annual growth rate over the past five years, albeit from a relatively lower base.[1] With increasing awareness of climate change and related risks, investors may look to integrate carbon screening into their factor portfolios. In Read more […]