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Tag Archives: smart beta

Sep 13, 2022

Defense and Volatility

As the equity market has waned and waxed in 2022, investor interest has naturally turned toward ways of mitigating portfolio losses. Some factor indices can serve this goal, but investors searching for a defensive strategy need to define their search carefully. It’s natural to think that defensive strategies will be less volatile than the market…

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Aug 30, 2022

Defense in the Balance

Balanced portfolios traditionally (and definitionally) hold a mix of stocks and bonds. Stocks have been the better-performing asset over time, but with a level of volatility that many investors find unacceptably high. Although bonds are usually included in a balanced portfolio more as a volatility dampener than a return enhancer, during the bull market in…

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Aug 2, 2022

Time Sensitivity and Volatility Management

We all know that in the long run, the U.S. stock market has performed very well, compounding at well over 10% per year for nearly a century. We also know that sometimes the market performs very poorly, as the S&P 500®’s 20% decline in the first half of 2022 reminds us. For an investor who…

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May 26, 2022

Value Vulnerabilities

Value has experienced a dramatic reversal in 2022, with the S&P 500® Value outperforming the S&P 500 Growth by 20% on a YTD basis as of May 25, 2022. Although one might expect this outperformance to be a boon for value managers, the data may indicate otherwise. A majority of active large-cap value managers outperformed…

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May 20, 2022

A Reliable Strategy in Unreliable Times

Try as one might, it is hard not to notice the woes of equities this year. Through May 19, 2022, the S&P 500® has declined 18%, losing 9% in the last three months alone. This pain was felt across most sectors of the index, with only Consumer Staples, Energy, and Utilities in positive territory for…

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Mar 22, 2022

Holding Period Returns

What is the appropriate observational period for evaluating an investment strategy? This question is important, because different observational periods can produce different conclusions. For example, for the first 11 weeks of 2022, one of our better-performing factor indices has been the S&P 500® Low Volatility Index. Through March 18, 2022, Low Vol had declined 4.7%,…

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Mar 18, 2022

Canadian Equities Offer Some Solace amid World Turmoil

Despite global geopolitical tensions, Canadian equities, in contrast to U.S. equities, seem to be faring well. Since its rebalance on Dec. 17, 2021, the S&P/TSX Composite gained 5.7% (through March 17, 2022). It was no surprise that the S&P/TSX Composite Low Volatility Index lagged—what was surprising was that it lagged by 1.3%, rising 4.4% over…

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Feb 18, 2022

Two Volatile Sectors

Since the last rebalance for the S&P 500® Low Volatility Index on Nov. 19, 2021, the market has experienced gyrations not seen since February 2021. The S&P 500 declined 6.44% since the November rebalance, with daily changes of greater than 1% almost half (44%) of the time. Low volatility strategies are designed to smooth out…

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Jan 4, 2022

Focusing on Factor Indices

Factor indices have two important uses. First, they can be used as benchmarks to help clients of specialist managers disentangle how much of the manager’s performance is attributable simply to factor exposure, and how much is attributable to the manager’s stock selection beyond the factor. Second, factor indices can be used as investment vehicles to…

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Nov 19, 2021

Information Technology Has Evolved to Become a Consistent Presence in the S&P 500 Low Volatility Index

Equities in 2021 had a slow start, but as December approaches it looks to be another stellar year. Through Nov. 18, 2021, the S&P 500® was up 27%. For a strategy that is explicitly designed to mitigate risk, the S&P 500 Low Volatility Index’s year-to-date gain of “only” 17% is well within the range of…

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