5 Dec 2016

Occasionally, the Unlikely Happens

One of the most notable market reactions to the election is the rally in small cap stocks. For the month of November, the S&P 600 Small Cap index gained 12.55 percent, compared to a 3.70 percent gain for the S&P 500 index of large cap stocks.  It was fourth best month for the S&P 600 Small Cap index since its inception in 1994. While the results were definitely a surprise,… Read More

11 Nov 2016

Small Cap Surge Continues

One of the interesting elements of yesterday’s trading was that small cap stocks continued to pop, jumping 1.59 percent. I don’t have a particular explanation for this movement, but it’s significant enough that I think it’s worth mentioning and it’s an example of positive volatility.  Too often we think of volatility to the downside, but the movement in small cap stocks in the past few days is a good reminder… Read More

3 Jun 2016

Small Caps Simultaneously Over- and Under-Perform

You may have noticed that the small cap index in the table above, the Russell 2000, has been gaining ground recently on the S&P 500, the benchmark index for large cap stocks. The chart below shows the return for the Russell 2000 (in orange) as nearly caught up with the S&P 500 (in blue).  The return difference, as we can see in the table is just one-third of one percent,… Read More

29 Feb 2016

Applied Investment Rigor

Barron’s cover article this weekend featured AQR, one of the fund companies that we use.  You can find the article here, but a subscription is required. The article was great, really explaining the firm and many of their processes – so much so that one of the online commenters asked, ‘what is this, an ad?’ My only disappointment was that the article really highlighted their alternative mutual funds, strategies like managed futures… Read More

26 Feb 2016

Is Value Investing Dead?

Value stocks are undoubtedly having a tough time these days.  As I first wrote last November (click here for the article), value stocks are undergoing their worst period of underperformance since the tech bubble during the late 1990s. For the 10 years ending January 31st, the Russell 1000 Value index is up 7.03 percent compared to 7.92 percent for the Russell 1000 index of large cap stocks and 8.68 percent… Read More

25 Jun 2015

The Sun is Shining on Small Cap Stocks

A number of people have noted that small cap stocks are really strong this year, as you can see from the chart below. I want to illustrate this outperformance a little differently in the chart below, which requires a little explaining. In the first chart above, I showed what a dollar invested in each index would have turned into.  Although you can’t invest a dollar in anything, let alone an index… Read More

30 Apr 2015

American Stocks and Cities

The other night while washing the dishes, I had the thought that St. Louis is a mid-cap, meaning that the size of our fine city is roughly equivalent to a mid-sized US company.  It’s a weird thought, but I thought it would be fun to carve up US cities the same way that researchers carve up the capitalization of the stock market. I started at Wikipedia with a list of… Read More

7 Apr 2015

A Small Cap Primer

In recent weeks, I’ve written about the various risk premiums that have been found in academia that both explain returns and offer some hope of beating the market. Each time, I wished that I could link back to an article that explains the concept more fully, so today, I am going to write the first of a series of articles explaining the well-known risk premiums. First up is the size… Read More

28 Jan 2015

Size Matters, If You Control Your Junk

It should be no surprise that small cap stocks struggled last year compared to large cap stocks. While the S&P 500 enjoyed above average results earning 13.7 percent, the Russell 2000 index of small cap stocks only gained 4.9 percent (click here for a chart of major asset class results). A little more than a year ago, I wrote that there is a long-running debate in academia about whether small… Read More

27 Dec 2014

Small Cap is Dead. Love Live Small Cap!

Returns for stocks are great everywhere you look in the developed world.  One of the best places though is in small US stocks.  The Russell 2000, the most common small cap benchmark is up 39.3 percent, much higher than the 32.4 percent return for the S&P 500 (through Dec 26). Microcap stocks, as measured by Russell, are up an astounding 45.46 percent this year through yesterday. In this context, it’s… Read More