Category Archives: S&P 500 & DJIA

A Conundrum in a Different Key

Volatility, dispersion, and correlation are elements of what we’ve elsewhere characterized as The Active Manager’s Conundrum. Active managers should prefer: Low volatility, which is typically associated with higher returns High dispersion, which means a larger payoff for correct stock selections High correlation, which reduces the opportunity cost of a concentrated portfolio The conundrum arises because Read more […]

Indices Made Remarkable Recovery in Q2

After a volatile start to 2020, many investors were looking at double digit declines and were probably re-evaluating their 2020 expected returns. But while COVID-19 continued to determine market sentiment, Q2 hosted a remarkable recovery.  The S&P 500 (+20.54%) and the S&P MidCap 400 (+24.07%) posted their highest quarterly total returns since 1998, while the Read more […]

The Progression of Passive

The evolution of indexing is one of the most noteworthy trends in modern financial history. The rise of passive investing is the consequence of shortfalls in active performance, as regular readers of our SPIVA reports will recognize. Our recent annual Survey of Indexed Assets shows a surge in S&P 500 indexed assets to $4.6 trillion Read more […]

Why The S&P 500® Matters in India

We recently held a webinar examining the relevance of the S&P 500 to India-based investors, the potential diversification benefits of incorporating U.S equity exposure to an existing allocation, as well as showing how difficult active managers have found it to beat the index, historically.  You can watch a replay of the webinar here; here are Read more […]

Higher Turnover Ahead For S&P 500? Not Necessarily!

The emergence of COVID-19 caused sizeable recalibrations in financial markets as investors grappled with the anticipated impacts on people’s lives and on economic activity.  Given many companies saw significant drops in market capitalizations amid the recent market sell-off, and in light of expectations for companies’ earnings to suffer from reduced economic activity, some may be Read more […]

The S&P Composite 1500®: An Efficient Measure of the U.S. Market

The S&P 1500 serves as both a benchmark indicator for U.S. equity market performance and as a basis for passively replicating investment products that aim to deliver a “market” return.  Our new paper examines the index from both these perspectives, and compares the S&P 1500 with other U.S. equity market indices.  Here are a few Read more […]

Factors and Factor Indices

There is a subtle but important distinction between factors and factor indices.  “Factor” denotes an attribute with which long-term excess returns are thought to be associated.  Fama and French, for instance, famously found that small size and cheap valuation were factors in this sense.  A number of other variables – prominently including momentum, low volatility, Read more […]

S&P 500 Dividend Futures: Divining Time To Recovery

In 2019, the S&P 500® companies in aggregate paid a record $485 billion in dividends.  This year, the figure could be closer to $415 billion, and it could be another seven years before they recover to 2019 levels, according to futures prices.  Dividend futures, that is. Index futures based on the level of the S&P Read more […]

Two Sides of Volatility

I was recently asked whether volatility was particularly challenging for index fund owners or for active investors.  The answer is “yes.” For index funds, the challenge arises because rising volatility typically accompanies poor returns.  Between 1991 and 2019, e.g., months in which the S&P 500’s volatility was above median averaged modestly negative total returns.  In Read more […]

The Defensive Advantage

A wise man told me years ago that there are some things you can’t get if you go after them directly.  If you’ve ever watched someone trying to sound interesting, you’ll realize the truth of my friend’s observation.  There are plenty of interesting people out there, of course, but they achieve that status by pursuing Read more […]