Tag Archives: index investment strategy

Apr 29, 2021

Woodstock for Capitalists

Berkshire Hathaway is scheduled to hold its annual shareholders’ meeting this Saturday, May 1. This is the second consecutive year in which the meeting will be virtual; in 2019, attendance was nearly 40,000, which makes social distancing somewhat difficult. We noted two years ago that Berkshire’s investment performance, though formidable over the long run, had…

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Apr 15, 2021

Hidden in Plain Sight

International equity investors have long participated in the U.S. market, but their interest has often focused on the globally recognized blue chips included in benchmarks such as the Dow® and the S&P 500®. In doing so, they may be missing out on the long-term outperformance of smaller companies; presently, they may also be missing out…

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Apr 5, 2021

Happy Birthday to Low Vol and High Beta!

On April 4, 2011, S&P DJI launched two strategy indices, the S&P 500® Low Volatility Index and the S&P 500 High Beta Index. Ten years of live history let us compare how the two indices actually performed versus their pre-launch back-tests. Many investors take back-tested history with an understandable grain of salt. But even live…

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Mar 22, 2021

Elevated Volatility Levels in Sectors Remain

The shock that the onset of the pandemic sent through the financial markets a year ago is mostly a distant memory. The S&P/TSX Composite Low Volatility Index was up 34% for the one-year period ending March 19, 2021, lagging its benchmark index. This is not surprising given that the performance of the S&P/TSX Composite Index…

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Mar 18, 2021

SPIVA and Style

Last week S&P Dow Jones Indices released its SPIVA® U.S. Year-End 2020 Scorecard. As has been the case for 17 of the past 20 calendar years, the majority of active large-cap managers underperformed the S&P 500®. Performance was better for mid- and small-cap managers, as Exhibit 1 shows. What caused the advantage for smaller-capitalization strategies?…

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Mar 8, 2021

A Change in Fortune

Three months ago, we observed that times of severe underperformance for Equal Weight can bode well for future performance. This reflection had become reality by the end of February. After almost four years of underperformance, the S&P 500® Equal Weight Index outperformed the S&P 500 by 1.6% over the past 12 months, as we see…

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Feb 23, 2021

Man Bites Dog: The Year for Active Management?

For at least five years, we’ve noticed that, despite historical performance, active managers regularly proclaim that this year will at last be the time when active management shows its value. I suspect that most advocates of indexing derive at least some guilty pleasure from observing this ritual. (I know I do.) So, we want to…

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Feb 19, 2021

Low Turnover in the S&P 500 Low Volatility Index Reflects Broader Market Dynamics

It’s been almost a year since the COVID-19 pandemic hit the U.S., but despite the disruption it brought to daily life, the U.S. equity market has performed remarkably well—rallying powerfully after a sharp decline in March 2020. Through Feb. 18, 2021, the S&P 500® was up 24% since the end of 2019. In the same…

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Feb 3, 2021

Efficient Markets and Irrational Exuberance

Recent headlines have reflected the extraordinary behavior of GameStop Corp.; the company’s stock rose from $18.84 at year-end 2020 to $325 at the close on Jan. 29, 2021, then declined to $90 in the first two trading days of February. At year-end, GameStop was the 314th largest stock in the S&P SmallCap 600®. By the…

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Jan 26, 2021

A Different Kind of Bubble

Information Technology was the top-performing sector in 2020, up 44%, while Momentum (up 28%) was the second best-performing factor. These two results are reminiscent of the bubble we experienced two decades ago. But the Tech sector of today is not your father’s Tech sector. Similarly, we can analyze the market from a factor perspective and…

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