Source: Cornerstone Macro, LP; Daily 3/1/2021 to 4/30/2021. The data in this chart represents the performance of the top quintile of S&P 600 Value Sector-Neutral Factors vs. their bottom quintile basket. Sector Neutral is an approach that assigns quintiles to stocks based on their ranking of factors within their respective sectors. The stocks are then compiled into portfolios with sectors equal to those in the initial index. Negative earnings are represented by earnings with a net income less than zero over the last twelve months. All indices are unmanaged. It is not possible to invest in an index. Past performance does not guarantee future results.
A rising tide lifts all boats. We’ve all heard the saying before—and it’s hard to argue against, especially when applied to a dramatic shift in sentiment like the one small cap equities enjoyed during the first quarter. During that time, a whopping 84% of constituents of the S&P 600 Index saw their shares increase in value.
Now, however, it appears that the easy money has been made. There’s still a strong case for smaller companies, but investors have become more selective about which ones to favor.
During the past six weeks, as shown above, stocks generating attractive earnings yields and positive earnings revisions have outpaced money-losing businesses and heavily shorted names (think Gamestop Inc.). This change is healthy, in our opinion, and could bolster the case for an enduring run for the long-overlooked asset class.
The switch also highlights how active management is poised to take on greater importance in the months and quarters ahead as equities rise and fall based on underlying business strength as opposed to the latest macro prediction or day-trader chatter on message boards.
If the trend holds, it could be an excellent time to be fundamental small-cap investor.