PORTFOLIO: How to Build One for Today’s Crazy Stock Markets

Insights For Doctors and All Investors

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Amazon.com: Vitaliy Katsenelson: Books, Biography, Blog, Audiobooks, Kindle

By Vitaliy Katsenelson CFA

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NOTE: This piece is a little more technical, and contains a bit more stock-market jargon, than most essays you get from me. While how we build portfolios is important to us and our clients, we realize that the puts and takes might bore many readers.

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Stock Market Open New Year’s Eve 12/31/2021

Bond Markets to Close Early Friday

By Staff reporters

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The stock market, buoyed by a Santa Claus rally and a banner year, will have one more day to extend its gains.

Both the New York Stock Exchange and NASDAQ will be open on New Year’s Eve. Bond markets will close early at 2 p.m. Friday.

The markets typically close on New Year’s Day but this year the holiday falls on a Saturday, when they would have shuttered anyway. Last week, the New York Stock Exchange and Nasdaq closed on Friday, Christmas Eve, in observance of Christmas, which also fell on a Saturday.

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UPDATE: Markets and Medicine

By Staff Reporters

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The Federal Reserve announced that it will stop buying bonds about three months earlier than initially planned. The Fed now plans to trim its monthly Treasury and mortgage-backed security purchases by $30 billion a month starting next month. The new pace is expected to put an end to bond buying by March.

CITE: https://www.r2library.com/Resource/Title/0826102549

The Fed also announced that it would leave interest rates unchanged at near-zero percent. The announcement paves the way for three interest rate hikes by the end of 2022, which could weigh on tech and growth stocks.

UPDATE: https://www.msn.com/en-us/money/news/tech-takes-a-beating-as-central-banks-pull-back/vi-AARTp0n

  • Markets: Stocks reversed their post-Federal Reserve announcement rally with a stinker of a day—especially tech stocks. Semiconductor companies like AMD and Nvidia got particularly thwacked.
  • Covid: The CDC recommended adults use Moderna’s and Pfizer’s Covid vaccines over J&J’s due to the risk of developing rare but serious blood clots.

MORE: https://www.msn.com/en-us/money/markets/stocks-fall-as-investors-digest-feds-latest-move/vi-AARTm2C

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UPDATE: Stock Market

By Staff Reporters

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Markets: Meme stocks like GameStop surged at the beginning of the year, but they’re now in a big funk as investors dump riskier assets.

An index of 37 stocks favored by retail traders hit its lowest level in seven months, and lost almost 25% of its value in just the last three weeks.

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MEME Stocks: https://medicalexecutivepost.com/2021/10/23/what-are-meme-stocks/

PEEK AHEAD TODAY: https://www.msn.com/en-us/money/markets/a-peek-into-the-markets-us-stock-futures-down-ahead-of-producer-price-index/ar-AARNFUs?li=BBnb7Kz

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Economic Market Update

END OF “WHAT A WEEK”

By Staff Reporters

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Wall Street closed lower on Thursday as investors banked some profits after three straight days of gains and turned their focus toward upcoming inflation data and how it might influence the Federal Reserve’s meeting next week.

So, what about today-prognostications?

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On Stock Market Volatility

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Putting it All into Perspective
By Sean G. Todd, Esq., M. Tax, CFP, CPA

The US stock market has taken investors on a bumpy ride in recent years. This volatility has tested investor discipline and prompted some doctors to question their commitment to equities. While no one knows the future, looking at the past may help you gain a better view of long-term market performance and put the recent market volatility in perspective.

Historical Performance

The historical distribution of US market returns since 1926 tells us that performance years are stacked in ascending order by return range. For example:

  • Market performance over the past two years has been extreme by historical standards. In 2008, US stocks experienced their second-worst calendar return in eighty-four years. Then, in 2009, stocks rebounded strongly to deliver a return in the top quartile of the historical distribution.
  • Over the long term, the market’s positive return years have outnumbered the negative return years. Since 1926, the market has experienced a positive return in almost three-quarters of the calendar years.
  • Not only are the positive years more numerous, there is a larger concentration of performance in the higher ranges of returns.
  • The sequence of calendar returns appears random, suggesting that accurately predicting future performance is a difficult task for any investor, physician or professional manager.

UPDATE: https://money.cnn.com/data/markets

Assessment

Over time, the market has rewarded investors who can bear the risk of stocks and stay committed through various periods of performance. And, professional counsel and advice goes a long way in helping you develop, implement and maintain your strategy.

Conclusion

The recent extreme market volatility has challenged many physician investors to rethink their investment strategy or to prompt them to initiate an investment strategy. And so, your thoughts and comments on this ME-P are appreciated. Feel free to review our top-left column, and top-right sidebar materials, links, URLs and related websites, too. Then, be sure to subscribe. It is fast, free and secure.

Conclusion

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STOCKS: A Very Skewed Market “Boom”

PRICES CHANGES FOR THE LAST SEVEN YEARS

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The Stock Market Has Been Flat For Six Months

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This is Great News!

By Lon Jefferies MBA CFP® http://www.NetWorthAdvice.com

Lon JefferiesInvestors have experienced a very uneventful 2015.

In fact, for seven months the Dow Jones Industrial Average was at essentially the same value.* This lack of fluctuation has been even more pronounced over the last two months. As of the market close on May 14th, 2015, the S&P 500 has closed between 2,040 and 2,120 for 71 days in a row.

Further, for nearly a full month, the DOW hasn’t experienced a 1-month high OR low and traded within a 2% range the entire time (always between -1% and 1%).** This was the longest streak in over 100 years!

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one-month-return

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Believe it or not, this may be the best pattern possible for the U.S. stock market.

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Trendline Image

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History tells us that the market is likely to increase in value over time. If we were to plot the market’s value from the time the market first opened to the current day, a chart of those two points would illustrate a return as such:

Trendline Image

However, we all know that the market doesn’t provide a consistent return. On individual trading days, the market can either increase or decrease in value, and the range of potential gains or losses is wide. Over extended periods of time, the market’s actual value may be above or below the expected trend line. In fact, the market’s actual historical return may look more like:

Historical vs Trendline

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Historical vs Trendline

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Anyone who is familiar with Net Worth Advisory Group is likely aware that we are not the type to make market predictions. We have no idea whether the market is near a temporary top or is still experiencing the upward trend after hitting the bottom of an S curve in 2008. However, let’s assume the market has reached the top of an S curve and is currently above the trend line that would represent consistent growth (similar to the illustration above).

If that is the case, there are two ways the market could get back in line with the trend line representing consistent long-term growth. The first and most obvious way this could happen is for actual market performance to curve downwards towards the trend line. This would represent a market correction or even crash.

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crash

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The second, and perhaps less obvious way that actual returns could become aligned with the long-term trend line is for time to allow the trend line to catch up to the actual returns we have experienced since 2008.

In this scenario, the market doesn’t slump but remains stable while time enables price-to-earnings ratios, valuations, and the economy a chance to catch up.

Time Catch Up

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Time Catch Up

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Very few investors enjoy or take advantage of a market correction. In fact, most investors lose control of their emotions when the market experiences a drastic downturn, and do exactly the opposite of what they should do: they sell at market lows – hardly a profitable investment strategy.

Consequently, if we are to avoid an over-heated market, it is likely better for most investors if the market realigns itself with the long-term growth rate by remaining flat for awhile and allowing the trend line time to catch up.

Allow me to reemphasize that I am not predicting that the market is in fact at a temporary high and above where it should be. I have no idea what the market will do tomorrow, over the next month, or over the next year. That is why I’m a believer in having a well diversified portfolio that represents your risk tolerance and you stick to it through thick and thin.

However, let’s look at the other side of the coin and assume the market is still at the bottom of an S curve, below the long-term trend line, and needs to experience further growth in order to catch up. Even in this scenario, an extended period of flat market performance is hardly a bad thing – it would simply make the potential upside needed to get back to market norms all the larger.

Market Under Valued

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Market Under Valued

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Assessment

It turns out that an extended period of flat market performance may very well be a positive for investors in any environment, regardless of whether the market is currently over or under-valued.

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What If the Stock Market Falls 30%?

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Are YOU ready, Doctor?

By Michael Zhuang,

[Principal of MZ Capital Management – Contributor to Morningstar and Physicians Practice]

Ever since it touched bottom on March 9th, 2009, the market has been going up and up and up with barely any hiccup. That’s dangerous! Because our minds could get complacent. That’s why I want to do a mental exercise with all of you: What would you do if the market falls 30%?

First of all, recognize these two important facts:

1.    Market fall of 30% and above happened every ten years or so.

If we use history as a guide, we should expect a 10% odds of that happening over the next 12 months. (So don’t be surprised.)

2.    All market tumbles of that magnitude were recovered within 18 months in the US. (So don’t despair.)

So instead of seeing a 30% fall a bad thing: a horrible hit to your wealth, how about seeing that as a good thing: a deep discount of productive assets on sale that happens only once every decade.

Here is what you should do before, during and after a 30% fall of the market.

1.    Start with having an appropriate asset allocation. Depending on your age and risk tolerance, maybe it’s a 70/30 portfolio, or a 60/40 one, or a 50/50 one.

2.    Stick to it through good market and bad.

3.    Rebalance periodically or opportunistically

Let’s take a 50/50 portfolio for example. After the (stock) market tumble of 30%, the portfolio becomes 35/65. To rebalance back to 50/50, you must sell appreciated bonds and buy discounted stocks.

When you do the above over and over, you create a system of buying low and selling high.

An additional note on rebalance, to keep it simple, you can rebalance every year. The optimal rebalance however, is opportunistic not periodic. The research on that was published in Journal of Financial Analyst and it suggests a rebalance when an asset class has deviated from its target allocation by 20%. When this is done right, you can add about 40 basis points in excess return.

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stock market

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“Retirement Investors Flock Back to Stocks”

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WSJ Front Page Headlines

[By Rick Kahler MS CFP® http://www.KahlerFinancial.com]

Rick Kahler CFP“Retirement Investors Flock Back to Stocks” was the front page headline of The Wall Street Journal on May 2, 2014.

I retweeted it to my Twitter feed, adding, “Just In Time to Ride Them to the Bottom Again.”

Introduction

Five years ago some of those same investors were abandoning stocks in sheer panic. In early March 2009, the Dow Jones Industrial Average hit a low of 6700. Many financial advisors spent hours listening to frightened clients wanting to sell out their entire portfolios and go to cash. It was an exhausting and traumatic period for doctors, financial advisors and clients.

Calm and Steady

Those who followed advisors’ recommendations to stay the course certainly came out on top. Their portfolios recovered nicely, with double-digit annualized returns for the past five years. Even over the past 10 years, most diversified portfolios earned very respectable returns far in excess of bank CD’s or bond yields.

Panic and Fear

Unfortunately, those who panicked and sold out paid an incredibly high price for the momentary relief of getting off the market roller coaster. Many of them kept their money on the sidelines until recently, waiting until “things were better” to reinvest.

Today-Bubbles?

Apparently that time has come. Here are some numbers from the WSJ article:

Retirement investors have recently increased their stock holdings by almost 40% from the market lows. Today, bond and money market funds make up only 25% of retirement plans, and 67% of new 401(k) contributions go toward purchasing stocks.

In 2007, bond and money market funds accounted for 21% of retirement plans. At the market top in October 2007, the average new 401(k) contribution going into stocks was 69%. Within 18 months stocks had declined almost 60% from their highs.

Correlations?

Do you see any potential correlations here? I have little doubt these individual investors, mistiming the market once more, are setting themselves up to get slaughtered all over again.

But, what about those who did get out of the markets five years ago and now realize they made a big mistake? Suppose you’ve learned the wisdom of staying in the market with a well-diversified portfolio. How do you get back in without waiting for the next crash?

Three Strategies:

Here are three strategies to rebuild your portfolio.

First, don’t go all in, but move into the market gradually with “dollar cost averaging.” Over the next two years, methodically (monthly or quarterly) buy into a diversified mixture of asset classes. If the market turns downward, which carries a high probability, you will buy into a falling market. You will also reduce the possibility of a huge market drop that might cause you to panic and sell out again.

Second, allocate your purchases to a mixture of US and international stocks, as well as options such as real estate investment trust (REIT) funds, commodity funds, managed futures funds, Treasury Inflation Protected (TIPs) bond funds, high yield bond funds, and high quality bond funds.

Finally, once your two-year dollar cost averaging is done and you are fully invested into your asset classes, rebalance at least once a year to maintain your original allocations as the values of the assets change.

For example, if you have allocated 30% of your portfolio to stocks, purchase more if stocks add up to less than 30% or sell some if they are over 30%.

Bull markets

Assessment

The research suggests there is a high probability that things will end badly for individual investors who try to time the markets. A few will succeed, but will confuse their “skill” with the fact they just got lucky. A methodical approach, however, provides a strategy to help you hold on, even in the face of market ups and downs.

Conclusion

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On Recent Stock Market Losses

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Should Physician Investors Be Concerned?

Lon JefferiesBy Lon Jefferies MBA CFP®

Many doctors and some investors viewed the end of January and early February as a pretty scary time. Over a period of just 12 trading days (1/15-2/3), the S&P 500 lost -5.76%. This spurred conversations online and in the media about the end of a long bull market run and even the possibility of a bubble. However, since the end of that tough stretch, the market has responded strongly and is again reaching new all time highs.

What’s Up!

So what happened during that short time span to cause such a response? Was it a concern about the health of emerging markets that caused such a scare, or perhaps the threat of rising interest rates? Did the uncertainty of having a new Fed chairman cause a pullback in the market, or maybe the concern of a terrorist attack in Sochi during the Olympics? These are all clearly issues that obtained a good amount of short-term attention, but I’d contend that none of them were the root cause of the market decline.

Historical Review

History illustrates time and again that market volatility leads to memory problems for many investors.  Check out this chart itemizing all market corrections of 5% or more since the bull market began.

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original_19861592

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As you can see, although the S&P 500 index has increased in value from 676.53 on March 9, 2009 to 1,819.75 on February 11, 2014, the S&P 500 has endured nine pullbacks of over 5% during that time frame.

As illustrated by the lengths of the red lines associated with each correction, many of these market declines happened over a similarly short time span.

Consequently, despite the S&P increasing in value by 169% over the last five years, the market has experienced a decline of at least 5% every six and a half months on average.

In fact, nearly a third of the months since the bull market began have seen the market decline, and by an average of 3% per month.  Considering this information, late January and early February wasn’t particularly unusual.

Periodic Pull-Backs

These periodic market pullbacks aren’t specific to the recent strong run. Historically, we typically see three stock market dips of 5% or more every year and one correction of more than 10% every 20 months. Yet, for some reason, the same conversations and concerns are repeated during every market correction. Investors wonder if this is the beginning of an extended market decline or even a crash?

People consider selling their assets and taking their money out of the market. It is so easy to forget that we have seen similar circumstances in the past and that very rarely has anyone benefitted from selling.

Refer back to the chart itemizing all market corrections over the last five years. There wasn’t a single market decline that didn’t recoup all value in a short period of time. Even the 20% decline that occurred in 2011 only took nine months to go from peak to trough to new all time high.

Assessment

As a result, I’d suggest that the January decline in the markets is not only nothing to be concerned about, but it is expected and healthy. In fact, if you have done your homework as an investor and have a well diversified portfolio with a stocks/bonds ratio that matches your risk tolerance, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a market movement that justifies dramatic action.

Of course, there will always be market corrections (even the occasional crash), but as long as your portfolio is built to accurately match your investment time horizon, market values are likely to recover before the pullback is catastrophic to your retirement goals. Next time the market experiences a short-term correction, remember it isn’t anything we haven’t seen before.

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About the Third and Fourth Stock Trading Markets

On OTC and Private Transactions

dem

By Dr. David Edward Marcinko MBA

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In most cases, a market maker of a stock in the NASDAQ system must report his trade in 90 seconds, but there is another circumstance in which the trade must be reported. This is called the third market, and is defined as transactions in exchange listed securities in the OTC market.

For example, even though IBM is listed on the NYSE, an OTC market marking firm can acquire the IBM stock and begin to make a market for it just like an OTC stock. All of these trades are considered the third market, and are reported to the Consolidated Quotation System (CQS) within 90 seconds of the trade.

Fourth Market

The fourth market is defined as private transactions made directly between large investors, institutions such as banks, mutual funds, and insurance companies without the use of a securities firm.

In other words, fourth market trading is usually one institution swapping securities in its portfolio with another large institution. From the stock broker’s viewpoint, there is one problem with the fourth market.

Assessment

Since no broker/dealer is involved, no registered representative is involved and there is no commission to be earned. These trades are reported on a system called Instinet. This is advantageous to larger medial foundations or institutional investors.

Conclusion

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The Economics of Stock Market Fear for Physicians

Panic Control and the Possibility of Severe Financial Degradation 

By Somnath Basu PhD, MBA [www.clunet.edu/cif]

[Director California Institute of Finance]

An experiential learning of mammoth proportions occurred several weeks ago in the financial markets. The absolute 10 minute freefall of the prices of stocks and bonds, without any pre-notification froze the hearts of many physicians and lay others both in, and outside, of the investment community. The possibility of a one trillion dollar loss had suddenly and unexpectedly turned real. It happened in a matter of minutes. This experience of panic, of the possibility of a severe economic degradation of life becoming immediately real, is like none other that most of us can ever remember experiencing. Even the 1987 crash happened over a large part of that Monday. Like then, this time too there is no known reason of why it happened, though attempts are being made to understand the cause(s). Whatever the reasons may be, it will not change the experience we had of the realization of the fear of a sudden and unexpectedly large loss.

Event Analogies

Before going deeper into the experienced fear, it is useful to provide some analogies to the event. If the meltdown in the financial markets of 2008 was like an earthquake, then this was like a severe aftershock. It is also similar to going down one of those severe roller coaster freefalls that some may consider very undesirable. Alternately, what makes a 30 year old physician be mostly unconcerned about his/her lack of retirement savings while a 60 year old doctor in the same poor condition is much more concerned. Obviously, the possibility of a lower quality of economic life is much more real for the elder than the younger. In such cases we would expect the fear of an economically degraded life to spur people to take preventive or remedial action.

Understanding Fear

To truly understand our responses to fear, we need to go deeper into our minds. According to behavioral psychologists and neurologists both, there are various segments within our mind. For example, one segments of our mind (the frontal lobe) is understood to process analytical tasks. Similarly, other parts of our brain (the older limbic system composed of mammalian and reptilian brains) react to and affect/control our emotions and fear. When we are faced with an immediate threat, this older system takes over control of our reactions and often drives us towards instinctive responses and will not, in general, make the analytically reasoned response. It is similar to learning about all the different ways we need to behave in the wild if we came across a bear. When people actually are faced by such a situation, they rarely remember all their learning and respond with their instincts. Those are the limbic responses. In other words, when threats are real, our emotional mechanisms will dominate our rational mind and we will react according to our older and longer existing nature.

Shocked Limbic System

Such was the effect of the financial freeform. In those 10 minutes the economic shock to our limbic system was the first of its kind, in terms of magnitude. While discussions are held about sudden unexpected losses, typically the impact of sudden huge losses in a very very short period of time is rarely thought of in very meaningful ways because the probability is so very low. This time, it did actually happen! We will bear some consequences which will begin playing themselves out slowly over this summer. For one, the investing nation will be much more circumspect about stocks and other volatile financial instruments. In a more technical way, our risk aversion as a nation will have suddenly increased. This will have an impact on both trading volume and security market prices and eventually on portfolio values. How younger physicians and other investors will react is less known.

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Assessment

Finally, there is one important lesson in behavioral finance for us all – and that is for medical professionals to find competent financial advisors and planners who can safely herald all people in these times. It also is probably an important point to understand why the portfolios of older physicians should consider safety of principal first whilst the younger ones focus on growing their wealth.

Editor’s Note: Somnath Basu PhD is program director of the California Institute of Finance in the School of Business at California Lutheran University where he’s also a professor of finance. He can be reached at (805) 493 3980 or basu@callutheran.edu. See the agebander at work at www.agebander.com

Conclusion

And so, your thoughts and comments on this ME-P are appreciated. Would anyone like to discuss neurotransmitters or chime in on the flight or fight response? Are these very human reactions any different for doctors? How about feelings of “fear” or stock-market “panic attacks?”

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Challenging Standard & Poor’s 500 Index

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According to Financial Advisor News – an electronic trade magazine on March 17 2009 – Standard & Poor’s underestimate the earnings of its S&P 500 Index. So says, Jeremy Siegel PhD, a finance professor at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business and author of Stocks for the Long Run.

The Dilemma

The problem started when the Wall Street Journal ran an op-ed piece by Siegel that argued Standard & Poor’s uses a “bizarre” methodology for calculating the earnings and P/E ratio for the S&P 500. In it, Siegel explained that the earnings of S&P 500 companies are currently treated equally, but should instead be weighted in proportion to their market capitalization. Market capitalization weighting, he noted, is used to measure the S&P 500 returns. Such a system gives larger weight to the earnings of a company such as Exxon-Mobil, and lower weight to an S&P 500 member such as Jones Apparel.

Siegel’s Example

For example, “a 10% rise in Exxon-Mobil’s price would boost the S&P 500 by 4.64 index points, while the same fall in Jones Apparel would have no impact since the change is far less than the one-hundredth of one point to which the index is routinely rounded,” Siegel wrote.

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Outcome

As a result of the above, if capitalization weightings were applied to 2008, the earnings of S&P 500 companies would have been $71.10 per share instead of $39.73 per share.

S&P’s Support

In response, an S&P official said Siegel’s argument “fails the test of both logic and index mathematics.”

Conclusion

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