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Tag Archives: index investment strategy

Sep 30, 2021

Why Benchmarks Matter

I recently had the pleasure of participating in a webinar on the basics of passive management. A portfolio manager in the audience posed an important question which I’ll paraphrase: “If my goal is to earn a return of X%, why is an index’s performance relevant?” Otherwise said, if I want to earn a particular absolute…

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Sep 23, 2021

The Importance of Order

We all know that stock market returns vary substantially over time. For example, the S&P 500®’s performance between 1981 and 2020 ranged from -37% (2008) to +38% (1995). The market’s compound annual return for this period was 11.5%. Investors, however, live with actual portfolio values, not abstract rates of return. Obviously, and other things equal,…

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Sep 17, 2021

Chugging Along

In the last three months, the Canadian equity market climbed another three percentage points, bringing the S&P/TSX Composite Index up to an impressive 20.4% YTD through Sept. 16, 2021. In a strong bull market environment, low volatility indices are expected to lag—and they typically have. But overall, the S&P/TSX Composite Low Volatility Index has held…

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Sep 13, 2021

Headwinds on the Active Horizon

Active managers’ performance was disappointing in 2020, despite the market’s heightened volatility. As the market continues to march upward in 2021, it’s natural to wonder if current conditions are favorable for stock pickers.  We expect active managers’ difficulties to persist. We can think of volatility in terms of its components: dispersion and correlation. Active managers…

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Aug 20, 2021

Stalwarts Continue to Increase Presence in the S&P 500 Low Volatility Index

If the equity market’s report card so far in 2021 is any indication, it’s on track to be another stellar year. Through Aug. 19, 2021, the S&P 500® is up 17%. The gains were achieved steadily; apart from January, the benchmark has been up every month in 2021. Predictably, in such an environment the S&P…

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Jul 27, 2021

Strength of Savings

In the 20 years ending in 2020, 94% of all large-cap U.S. managers lagged the S&P 500®. Mid- and small-cap results were almost equally disappointing. A notable consequence of these shortfalls in active performance has been the rise in passive investing, one of the most significant trends in modern financial history. Our recent Annual Survey…

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Jun 30, 2021

U.K. Small Caps: Mind the Gap!

A gap between the 12-month performances of the S&P United Kingdom SmallCap and S&P United Kingdom SmallCap Select Index hints at a “junk rally” in U.K. stocks, but the longer-term data suggests that those looking to participate in an ongoing recovery in the world’s fourth-largest economy might be wise to maintain a selective approach. As…

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Jun 18, 2021

The Good Days of Yesteryear

With the S&P/TSX Composite Index up 16% YTD through June 17, 2021, the Canadian equity market seems to have put the pandemic in the rearview mirror. In this environment, predictably, the S&P/TSX Composite Low Volatility Index underperformed, up 11% over the same period. One-year volatility levels (no longer capturing the uncontrolled panic at the onset…

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Jun 15, 2021

Valuing Equal Weight

We have previously discussed the impact of Equal Weight’s rebound on its exposure to the momentum factor. We now turn our attention to its exposure to the value factor, as the recovery in smaller caps and value stocks has been an important tailwind for the strategy. The S&P 500® Equal Weight is typically biased toward…

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Jun 9, 2021

Riding the Value Wave

U.S. equity markets seemed to undergo a fundamental change of direction in September of last year. Exhibit 1 illustrates the shift; our growth indices, which had outperformed value handily through the end of August, have lagged ever since. The spreads between growth and value are even greater when we compute them using our Pure Growth…

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