US Equities: Performance Review | 16 Jan 2014

The US stock market continues to set new highs, but the bull market in equities comes in a variety of flavors. Yes, prices are higher across the board, but there’s a fair amount of variation to the party. The implication: the opportunity to add value with rebalancing within the equity allocation is knocking. Before we open the door, let’s take a peek at the possibilities by carving up US stocks into three buckets based on market capitalization, style (value vs. growth), and sectors. Our tour guides: a set of ETFs based on the trailing 250-trading-day total return (roughly the equivalent of 1-year performance).

Let’s start with market cap. For the moment, the smallest tier of the market is at the top of the performance ledger. Micro-cap stocks, defined by iShares Micro-Cap (IWC), is far and away in the lead with a roughly 44% gain. The biggest stocks, by contrast, are struggling to keep up: the iShares Russell Top 200 (IWL) is ahead by a comparatively light 27% over the past 250 trading days.

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Turning to the prism of investment style, small-cap growth is in the lead. The iShares Russell 2000 Growth (IWO) is ahead by nearly 39% through January 15. That’s a sizable premium over the relative laggard in the group: large-cap value stocks: iShares Russell 1000 Value (IWD) is ahead by a touch less than 27%.

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Slicing up the market by sectors reveals that the top performer at the moment is healthcare. The Health Care Select Sector SPDR (XLV) is up by nearly 38%, or far above the group’s bottom performer: utilities. Indeed, the 11% advance for the Utilities Select Sector SPDR (XLU) looks sluggish relative to the competition.

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If you found the analysis above useful, consider the weekly updates via The ETF Asset Class Performance Review, which offers a deeper look at an ETF-based view of asset classes. For more information and a recent sample, see CapitalSpectator.com/premium.

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