Tag Archives: Index Investment Strategy

From “Hard to Beat” to Nigh-On Impossible

Our SPIVA® reports have shown, year after year, that market-cap weighted benchmarks are, to put it kindly, hard to beat.  However, in 2019 a range of circumstances made “hard to beat” become nigh-on impossible for the S&P 500®. In general, there are three common ways by which an active portfolio can outperform its benchmark: over Read more […]

Emerging Markets: Enter the Dragon

The 2010s proved to be a disappointing decade for the S&P Emerging BMI, at least in relative terms. With a few weeks to go until the finish line, the index stands at a total return of 50% in U.S. dollars, compared with 160% for the S&P Developed BMI, as of Dec. 16, 2019. Although emerging Read more […]

Equity Markets React to the U.K. Election

At the General Election on Thursday, U.K. voters handed a resounding victory to Boris Johnson’s Conservative party.  The British electorate awarded the party with 365 out of 650 seats, the largest outright majority of any U.K. government since 2001, and the biggest victory for the Conservative party since Margaret Thatcher’s final victory in 1987. Exhibit Read more […]

Winning by Losing Less

Except for a couple of hiccups, the U.S. stock market has more or less hummed along in an upward trajectory for 2019. Through October, the S&P 500 is up 23%. What is surprising is that the S&P 500 Low Volatility Index® outperformed the benchmark by almost 3%, gaining 26% over the same period. This is Read more […]

Illustrating the Value of Liquidity

Let’s suppose for a moment that you are given a choice between two hypothetical exchange traded funds (ETFs) tracking the same index.  Fund A has an annual management fee of 0.4% while Fund B has an annual management fee of 0.1%.  At first glance, Fund B seems like the better option: it offers similar performance Read more […]

Mapping the S&P 500 Trading Ecosystem

A new paper published today provides a new perspective on the active usage of products linked to S&P DJI indices, and illustrates the network of liquidity that has developed around the S&P 500® and other popular benchmarks. “Active” and “passive” are colloquial terms, and it can be hard to distinguish one from the other at Read more […]

The Calm That Was

Through the end of July, equities had netted a nice gain for 2019 (though the picture looks a lot different so far in August). Unusually, the S&P 500 Low Volatility Index® outperformed in an environment when it has typically lagged its benchmark. (The S&P 500 gained 20.2%, while the low volatility index was up 20.8%, Read more […]

Implied Plunge Protection

Ever since its formation in response to the “Black Monday” crash of October 1987, the United States “Working Group on Financial Markets” has been accompanied by (persistently-denied) rumours that the group used government funding to make large equity purchases whenever the market fell – giving rise to its informal moniker of the “Plunge Protection Team”.  Read more […]

Little Churn in the Latest Low Volatility Rebalance

Market gains in the first four months in 2019 more than made up for what it lost in the turbulent last quarter of 2018 as the S&P 500 jumped 18%. Predictably enough, the S&P 500 Low Volatility Index® trailed the broader benchmark (up a “mere” 16% in the first four months), although Low Vol has Read more […]

When to Get Active with Sectors

When do sectors matter, and what can you do about it?  Sometimes the sector composition of an equity portfolio strongly affects its returns.  At other times, single stock effects or overall market effects dominate. Sector-based products such as ETFs and futures have been around for decades, but recently they have attracted growing interest.  Exhibit 1 Read more […]