Hulbert: Large Caps Now and Small Caps in January

Small-cap stocks outperform large caps, on average, over the long term, but almost all the small-cap advantage occurs in the early part of the year. This according to a recent MarketWatch article by Mark Hulbert. “As you can see from the chart below,” he writes, “their advantage gradually diminishes as the year progresses, and is actually negative by the last quarter of the year.” The widely-accepted theory on the relative performance of these two asset classes, says Hulbert, is that the small-cap advantage represents compensation for higher risk. However, he adds, a study published more than ten years ago traces […]

Small-Caps are on the Upswing

After a brief post-election surge at the end of 2016, small-caps “went nowhere” for nine months, but the asset class has “finally decided to join the party,” writes Ben Carlson of Ritholtz Wealth Management in a recent Bloomberg article. “Although 2013 was a breakout year for small-cap stocks,” writes Carlson, “there have been a steady number of all-time highs in the ensuing years.” Since small-caps can be volatile, this could be a sign that investors are pivoting to riskier stocks (historically, he points out, small-cap stocks exhibit 20 percent higher volatility than large-caps). Carlson says that, “One of the biggest […]

Hulbert: Small Cap Sector Shockingly Overvalued

In a recent MarketWatch article, Mark Hulbert reveals a revised calculation that the small-cap sector is currently valued at a whopping 78.7 times earnings. He writes, “the Russell 2000’s true P/E today is higher than it was at either the top of the internet bubble or the 2007 bull market peak.” Hulbert describes the calculation, which he credits to financial services firm INTL FCStone’s Vincent Deluard, who told him that nearly a third of the companies in the Russell 2000 index are losing money. This omission, writes Hulbert, “has huge consequences.” Neither the FTSE Russell (the company that created the […]

Small Companies on the Decline, says Zweig

The number of publicly-traded companies has declined by half over the past two decades, with most of the decrease attributed to the smallest companies, writes Jason Zweig in last week’s Wall Street Journal. Zweig questions, however, whether this is making it more difficult for “stock pickers to beat the market and for investors to forecast future returns from past data,” an assertion the columnist made in an earlier article. Zweig cites comments from AQR partner Ronen Israel: “That part of the universe is so small that it doesn’t really affect most portfolio managers because they can’t invest there anyway.” Israel […]

Small Cap Stocks Losing Earnings Steam

The global growth outlook, more than a smoothing of the Trump bump, has resulted in small-cap stocks losing the upper hand—a dramatic shift from what happened right after the election. This according to The Wall Street Journal’s Steven Russolillo. Small-cap stocks (those with market capitalizations generally under $2 billion) spiked by more than 11% between the election and last Thanksgiving, writes Russolillo, who explains that many traders bet on the new president’s tax cuts and infrastructure spending plans (that would be most beneficial to smaller companies). But the gains have “fizzled.” “The main factor behind the recent weakness is earnings […]