Tag Archives: 2018

Nov 21, 2018

Shelter from the Storm

As we approach the final month of a rollercoaster year in the markets, adding a factor lens can provide perspective, especially when it comes to low volatility. The goal of low volatility strategies is to provide investors with protection in falling markets and participation in rising markets. The need for protection has become more relevant…

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Oct 17, 2018

Surprising but Explainable

Equal-weight indices have a small-cap tilt. Therefore, one might naturally assume that the volatility of equal-weight indices is higher than that of their cap-weighted counterparts. Surprisingly, this is not always the case, and we can understand why using the lens of dispersion and correlation. Exhibit 1 shows that the volatility of the S&P 500® Equal…

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Oct 15, 2018

Looking Through The Sector Lens

We’ve recently noted that this month’s market turmoil created a radical reversal of factor returns, poking holes in this year’s momentum bubble. A similar trend has occurred within sectors.  During the first nine months of 2018, Consumer Discretionary and Info Tech dominated performance, as seen in Exhibit 1. For the first two weeks of October,…

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Oct 11, 2018

Momentum Bubble Deflating?

Yesterday’s decline in the U.S. and global stock markets is striking not simply because of its magnitude but also because it represents a radical reversal of factor returns from the first three quarters of 2018. Readers of our quarterly factor dashboard will recognize this graph, which shows the total return of the S&P 500 and…

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Sep 10, 2018

Performance Trickery

Suppose you, as a hypothetical financial advisor, encounter a hypothetical marketer who presents the following hypothetical performance data: Last Year Trailing 3 Years Trailing 5 Years Trailing 10 Years Portfolio 25.0% 11.9% 16.0% 8.8% Benchmark 21.8% 11.4% 15.8% 8.5% Not only did the portfolio beat its benchmark handily in 2017, says our marketer, but it…

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Aug 23, 2018

Juxtaposition and Paradox

Effective prior to the market open on Sept. 24, 2018, the Telecommunication Services sector will be replaced with a new Communication Services sector, which will combine telecom with parts of the Information Technology and Consumer Discretionary sectors. As a result, Telecom, the ugly duckling sector comprising three stodgy telephone companies, will now be joined by…

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Jul 20, 2018

Proximate Cause

Our colleagues at S&P Global Market Intelligence recently completed a paper analyzing the impact of exchange-traded funds on stock-level pricing.  Their work found that “…the impact of ETF trading is transient and of only a modest magnitude under even extreme assumptions” (my italics).  This conclusion is a rebuttal to critics who believe that the growth…

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Jun 14, 2018

Introducing the U.S. S&P Select Industry Dashboard

We recently launched the monthly U.S. S&P Select Industry Dashboard, which provides key metrics, analysis of correlation and dispersion, and historical risk/return data for 20 investable select industry indices. The dashboard is a natural extension of our U.S. Select Sector Dashboard, which provides analysis for investable sectors across the large-, mid-, and small-cap ranges. For…

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Apr 10, 2018

Low Volatility and Market Regime Shifts: Lessons From the First Quarter

Since antiquity, people have measured time in months. Unsurprisingly, investors tend to evaluate performance in monthly increments. This can be troublesome, as we will see in the case of low volatility, particularly during market regime changes. Low volatility strategies are designed to provide investors with protection in falling markets and participation in rising markets. Disappointments…

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Feb 22, 2018

The Skew Is Not New

Market observers have noted that the S&P 500’s performance so far this year has been dominated by a small number of technology stocks.  This observation is certainly correct, although it’s fair to question the relevance of a statistic based on fewer than two months’ data.  What’s more important is to bear in mind that this…

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