Tag Archives: index investment strategy

Nov 20, 2020

The Market Is Up, But So Is Volatility

So far, 2020 has brought us a global pandemic, a coordinated global economic shutdown, and, in the U.S., a notably contentious election. So it’s no surprise that volatility has been, and remains, elevated. Despite all this, equities have fared reasonably (some would say surprisingly) well, with the S&P 500® climbing 13% through Nov. 19 since…

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Nov 10, 2020

Why Cap Weighting?

Journalists and others occasionally offer comparisons of capitalization-weighted index funds with other weighting schemes. Some of these efforts are more useful than others, but none, in my experience, identify the question that cap-weighted indices were initially designed to answer, and which accounts for their enduring economic significance. That question is, simply put: What is the…

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Oct 7, 2020

Not a Coincidence

We recently issued our mid-year SPIVA® reports for the U.S., Australia, and Europe, and other regions will follow in due course. Although one can sometimes find exceptions in the short run, the long-term results of SPIVA can be easily summarized: The majority of active managers underperform most of the time. Historical success does not predict…

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Sep 21, 2020

Sectors and Electors

Markets expect elevated volatility surrounding the U.S. Presidential election, now just six weeks away. The VIX futures curve currently peaks in November, but as long ago as April a close observer could detect expectations of electoral volatility. Increased volatility may create an unusual opportunity for sector allocators. To understand why, we need to remember that…

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Sep 18, 2020

Holding Steady…

The market has recovered most of the losses from March’s uproar, with the S&P/TSX Composite Index down 4.8% in 2020 through Sept. 17. Volatility, though off its March peak, continues to be high but has been evenly distributed across all sectors of the market. Since all sectors experienced similar increases in volatility, it’s not surprising…

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Sep 17, 2020

What Would Emerging Markets Be Without China?

In the first decade of the 2000s, the U.S. and other developed countries fell behind emerging market equities by a wide margin, and they lagged China’s markets in particular: the S&P China BMI grew by 600% in the first decade of the new millennium. The 2010s saw a reversal of fortunes for broad-based emerging market…

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Sep 15, 2020

Courage vs. Comfort

Philosophers have long argued that courage is the most essential human virtue, because without courage, all other virtues lie in jeopardy. Remarkably, the theorizing of ethicists has an implication for practical portfolio management. We can illustrate this with a simple example in Exhibit 1. It’s Dec. 31, 1999, and a professional investor is considering buying…

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Sep 14, 2020

Not Your Father’s Tech Sector

As of the end of August 2020, the S&P 500® Information Technology sector had risen a remarkable 36% YTD. Such outstanding relative performance of course reminds us of the late 1990s, when the markets experienced a technology bubble and subsequent bust. One notable resemblance to the late 1990s is Information Technology’s weight in the S&P…

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Aug 27, 2020

Will Powell Power the Aristocrats?

As the recovery from the Global Financial Crisis edged forward in the early 2010s, inflation hawks warned about the “certainty” of an imminent spike in inflation following the aggressive stimulus measures taken by global central banks. Unfortunately for the U.S. Federal Reserve and some of its other monetary counterparts, that certainty never materialized, and it…

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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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