Posts filed under “Index/ETFs”
I want to address the addition of Apple to the Dow Jones Industrial Average, so we have to get a few things out of the way up front.
The venerable Dow isn’t really all that important. It began life on May 26, 1896, but in the last 30 or so years, it has faded in significance. It remains deeply flawed in its methodology, driven rather arbitrarily by the price weightings of its constituents rather than their market values.
You can see how this affects the weighting of each component in the index. Companies with higher stock prices such as Visa and Goldman Sachs have a 9.7 percent and 6.7 percent weight, respectively, while lower-priced stocks such as Cisco Systems and General Electric are merely 1.05 percent 0.91 percent, respectively. Why Goldman Sachs, with an $84 billion capitalization, matters more to the Dow than General Electric, with a $257 billion capitalization, is rather mystifying. A high-priced, smaller company carrying more weight than a lower-priced, bigger company makes no sense.
Not only that, but it is an actively selected — though not actively traded — portfolio, managed by a group of editors. Originally these editors were employees of Dow Jones, the company, but since 2012 the index has been 73 percent owned by McGraw Hill Financial. The CME group, which had purchased the index from Dow Jones in 2010, owns 24.4 percent; Dow Jones retains the remaining 2.6 percent stake.
I can’t think of these strange bedfellows now in charge of selecting Dow components without being reminded that a camel is a horse that was designed by a committee.
What qualifies a company to be included in the Dow? According to theDJ Index fact sheet, a “stock typically is added only if the company has an excellent reputation, demonstrates sustained growth and is of interest to a large number of investors.” (The full history of additions and deletions can be seen here). But that description is so broad as to be almost useless. There are hundreds of companies with those qualifications.
Why Apple, and perhaps more importantly, why now?
I wanted to spend a bit of time on the Labor Department’s proposal to place a fiduciary obligation on those who manage or provide investment advice on retirement plans. These include individual retirement accounts and 401(k)s (including 403(b)s). The new rules require the broker or adviser to “operate in the best interest of the client.” I don’t…Read More
Rob Arnott turned the world of passive index investing upside down. Best known for creating “smart beta,” Arnott creates models weighted b y four factors: Sales, profits, book value and dividends. Market cap is not relevant to him. Funds running Arnott’s models manage about $200 billion dollars in smart-beta strategies. Assets have increased by 59…Read More
Source: Bespoke Investment Group How expensive are stocks? Its a question that seems to beget many different answers. Too often, the response reflects the responder’s investment posture. If they are long equities, they typically respond by saying “Not very.” If they are short, or in cash or in other risk assets, the answer is…Read More
The Dow Jones’s 22,000 Point Mistake Bryan Taylor, Ph.D., Chief Economist, Global Financial Data One of the long-term components of the Dow Jones Industrial Average has been IBM. The company was originally added to the Dow Jones Industrials on March 26, 1932 in a reshuffle involving eight stocks including Coca-Cola, Nash Motors (later American Motors)…Read More