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Tag Archives: defensive strategies

Sep 13, 2022

Defense and Volatility

As the equity market has waned and waxed in 2022, investor interest has naturally turned toward ways of mitigating portfolio losses. Some factor indices can serve this goal, but investors searching for a defensive strategy need to define their search carefully. It’s natural to think that defensive strategies will be less volatile than the market…

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Aug 30, 2022

Defense in the Balance

Balanced portfolios traditionally (and definitionally) hold a mix of stocks and bonds. Stocks have been the better-performing asset over time, but with a level of volatility that many investors find unacceptably high. Although bonds are usually included in a balanced portfolio more as a volatility dampener than a return enhancer, during the bull market in…

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Aug 21, 2020

A Stable Regime

In recent days the S&P 500 reached multiple new highs, despite the still-uncertain nature of the economy’s recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. Year to date through Aug. 20, 2020, the S&P 500 is up 6% while the S&P 500 Low Volatility Index is down 6%. Market volatility remains high, as evidenced by the charts in…

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Jun 23, 2020

Have Defensive Sectors Stood the Test of Time in Global Markets?

In March 2020, the S&P Global BMI TR declined 14.3%, marking its third-worst month over the past 25 years. Meanwhile, some sectors within the index recorded significant outperformances compared with the broader market. The S&P Global BMI Health Care, S&P Global BMI Consumer Staples, and S&P Global BMI Utilities surpassed the benchmark by 9.9%, 8.9%,…

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May 28, 2020

Big Sector Shifts in Low Volatility Composition

In March, COVID-19 inspired volatility roiled markets across the globe. Similarly, the volatility of the S&P/TSX Composite also jumped. The increase, however, was not balanced across all sectors. We see this manifested in the most recent rebalance for the S&P/TSX Composite Low Volatility Index. Effective after the close of trading April 24, 2020, Exhibit 1…

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May 15, 2020

A Changed World

The world looks much different than it did three months ago. Since then equities hit their all-time peak, entered a bear market, exited a bear market, and currently sit 15% off peak with sustained higher volatility levels. The latest rebalance for the S&P 500 Low Volatility Index®, effective after the close of trading today, rotated…

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Apr 24, 2020

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…

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Mar 17, 2020

Low Volatility in Europe and Asia

“The rich, the poor, the high, the low Alike the various symptoms know”–The Influenza Winston Churchill, 1890 By this point, the infamous COVID-19 has made its way around the world and wreaked havoc through equity markets across the globe. We’ve already highlighted the value of protection in the U.S. and Canada.  Pandemics show no respect…

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Mar 11, 2020

The Virtue of Protection

It remains to be seen what the full economic impact of the COVID-19 virus will be, but it is already clear that no equity market  has escaped unscathed.  (In fact, most of them have been scathed rather badly.) The Canadian equity market was humming along in 2020 through February 20, 2020, with the S&P/TSX Composite…

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Mar 4, 2020

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…

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