Tag Archives: smart beta

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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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 16, 2020

Motions of the Market

The S&P 500® rose by 10% in the 12 months ending on Oct. 31, 2020, trouncing the S&P 500 Equal Weight Index by 9.1%, as seen in Exhibit 1. While such outperformance is not unprecedented, it does remind us of previous market peaks (especially in December 1999), and raises questions about whether a reversal may…

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Sep 17, 2020

Comparing Defensive Factors During the Last 3 Bear Markets

In the factor world of investing, Low Volatility and Quality have been commonly referred to as defensive factors.  The following is an examination of the performance of the S&P 500 Quality Index and the S&P 500 Low Volatility Index compared to the S&P 500 during the last 3 equity bear markets.  The graphs and data…

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Sep 8, 2020

Even Smarter Beta in South Africa? – Diversifying and Optimizing

The equity risk premia from factors (such as quality, momentum, and low volatility) have been widely accepted and adopted by investment practitioners across the globe and South Africa alike. The belief by many is that exposure to these risk factors, in addition to the market, could reward investors over the long term. While the long-term…

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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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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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May 13, 2020

Comparing Bottom-Up versus Top-Down Multi-Factor Construction

The S&P 500® Quality, Value & Momentum Multi-Factor Index is designed to measure the performance of stocks having the highest combination of quality, value, and momentum (QVM). It takes a “bottom-up” approach of scoring each stock on its individual factor attributes and selecting stocks that jointly score highest across all the factors [1]. In light…

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May 12, 2020

Factors and Factor Indices

There is a subtle but important distinction between factors and factor indices.  “Factor” denotes an attribute with which long-term excess returns are thought to be associated.  Fama and French, for instance, famously found that small size and cheap valuation were factors in this sense.  A number of other variables – prominently including momentum, low volatility,…

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