Category Archives: S&P 500 & DJIA

What’s Your U.S. View?

Every year, certain trends take centre stage and help to explain market returns. For example, expectations over trade negotiations and Fed policy were useful for explaining market performance in 2019.  Many of these developments often appear obvious with the benefit of hindsight, but identifying the trends and their subsequent impact in advance is far from Read more […]

The Uncommon Average

The US stock market has delivered an average annual return of around 10% since 1926.[1] But short-term results may vary, and in any given period stock returns can be positive, negative, or flat. When setting expectations, it’s helpful for investors saving for retirement to see the range of outcomes experienced historically. For example, how often Read more […]

S&P Composite 1500®: Measuring Market Trends

The S&P Composite 1500 measures the U.S. equity market by combining three world-renowned benchmarks – the S&P 500®, S&P MidCap 400®, and S&P SmallCap 600® – which together encompass approximately 90% of U.S. equity market capitalization.  With 2019 in the rear-view mirror, it is obvious that last year was extremely positive for U.S. equities:  the Read more […]

2019: A Market Review

With 2019 coming to a close, market participants may use the time to evaluate portfolio performance and to assess what changes (if any) they would like to make based on return expectations and the market outlook.  While the future is uncertain – hindsight really will be 2020 when it comes to evaluating next year’s returns Read more […]

Common Confusion

The critics of passive investing are nothing if not creative.  One of their objections to the growth of index funds stems from the putative problem of “common ownership.”  The argument is that index funds’ ownership of many of the competitors in most industries encourages or facilitates collusive behavior.  “[T]he fear is that by owning chunks Read more […]

Winning by Losing Less

Except for a couple of hiccups, the U.S. stock market has more or less hummed along in an upward trajectory for 2019. Through October, the S&P 500 is up 23%. What is surprising is that the S&P 500 Low Volatility Index® outperformed the benchmark by almost 3%, gaining 26% over the same period. This is Read more […]

A Way of Seeing

A wise man told me years ago that sometimes the things we see are less important than our way of seeing.  As more formerly-active investors begin to use passive vehicles, it’s useful to consider if there’s a distinctly index-centric way of seeing, and what its elements might be.  I think that there are at least Read more […]

The Road Less Traveled

It is a truth universally acknowledged that liquidity is critical to market health; typically when liquidity falls, volatility rises.  The Financial Times recently cited claims that the increased use of passive investment vehicles had caused trading volumes in individual S&P 500 constituents to decline.  Should we be alarmed? In reality, the notion that single-stock traders Read more […]

The Gift of a Benevolent Providence

Suppose that I buy a popular exchange traded fund (ETF) tracking the S&P 500® today, leave it in my brokerage account for 20 years, and then sell it.  What return should I expect?  The answer, obviously, is that my return should reflect the movements in the S&P 500 (net of fees) over my 20-year holding Read more […]

Have Passive AUMs Eclipsed Active?

“You all did see that on the Lupercal I thrice presented him a kingly crown, Which he did thrice refuse.” Julius Caesar, Act 3 This morning’s Wall Street Journal declared that “Index Funds Are the New Kings of Wall Street.”  The coronation, and similar notes of the “end of an era,” were prompted by Morningstar Read more […]