Small cap fund index question

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xrayvsn
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Small cap fund index question

Postby xrayvsn » Wed Apr 19, 2017 6:21 pm

The majority of my investment currently resides in vanguard total stock market index fund but the way it is weighted it doesn't have as much small cap stocks and I was going to slightly tilt my investment in this direction to balance it out

My question is in regard to long term holding of the vanguard small cap index fund. Obviously you want these companies to grow and increase in value to make gains in investment however by the very nature of the fund won't your "winners" in the index eventually get too big and thus leave this fund? And then are all you are stuck with are the companies that really haven't skyrocketed up in price? How does a small cap index fund have potential to make serious gains in value because of this?

Thanks for your input

sport
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Re: Small cap fund index question

Postby sport » Wed Apr 19, 2017 6:38 pm

If some small companies grow too large and leave the index, then other small companies must replace them in the index. This gives additional opportunities for growth.

runner23
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Re: Small cap fund index question

Postby runner23 » Wed Apr 19, 2017 6:54 pm

sport wrote:If some small companies grow too large and leave the index, then other small companies must replace them in the index. This gives additional opportunities for growth.


The reverse is also true in that beaten down mid-caps could trickle in and then regain their footing. Thus, increasing while in the small cap realm.

Christian NY
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Re: Small cap fund index question

Postby Christian NY » Wed Apr 19, 2017 7:06 pm

I have the same exact question! May I ask what allocation you plan to have within the equities portion of your portfolio? Are you using VOO, VOE, VBR or VB? Or something else? And how do you plan to calculate how much small-cap to buy? Thank you.

runner23
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Re: Small cap fund index question

Postby runner23 » Wed Apr 19, 2017 7:20 pm

Christian NY wrote:I have the same exact question! May I ask what allocation you plan to have within the equities portion of your portfolio? Are you using VOO, VOE, VBR or VB? Or something else? And how do you plan to calculate how much small-cap to buy? Thank you.


At age 27, my wife and I maintain a 90/10 equity/bond allocation. Of the 90 equity, 36 international, 36 small-mid US and remaining large US. Of the 36 international, 60 large and 40 small-mid. All vanguard mutual funds.

Alexa9
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Re: Small cap fund index question

Postby Alexa9 » Wed Apr 19, 2017 7:40 pm

Yes once a small cap becomes a mid cap it is removed from the index. You may also consider value tilting which I believe is a larger premium than the small cap premium:
VTV Large Value, VOE Mid Value, VBR Small Value
Also in international: VSS Small Blend

TheJoker
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Re: Small cap fund index question

Postby TheJoker » Wed Apr 19, 2017 7:55 pm

Good point. Why would you want to be in a small cap index? Isn't the 500 index good enough ? Ask yourself, how much better is the small cap index then the 500 index?

harvestbook
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Re: Small cap fund index question

Postby harvestbook » Wed Apr 19, 2017 8:35 pm

BhamETFs wrote:Good point. Why would you want to be in a small cap index? Isn't the 500 index good enough ? Ask yourself, how much better is the small cap index then the 500 index?


Over an investing lifetime, small value could give you 2 to 7 percent premium over the S & P, according to Paul Merriman:

"Start with the S&P 500:

The best 20-year period for that index was 1980 through 1999. Those years produced an annual return of 17.9%.
The worst 20-year period for the index was 1959 through 1978, when the annual return was only 6.5%.
The average return of the 61 20-year periods was 11.6%.
That’s not bad, and not even awful over the worst 20-year period.

Now let’s look at the small-cap value index:

The best 20 calendar years to have invested in small-cap value stocks were 1977 through 1996; the annual return was 24%.
The worst 20 years for this particular index were 1955 through 1974, when the annual return was 9%.
The average return of the 61 20-year periods was 16.7% — an improvement of 46% when compared with the S&P 500.
Here’s one that really surprised me: Of these 61 periods, small-cap value stocks beat the S&P 500 60 times. If that’s not consistency, I don’t know what would qualify."

http://paulmerriman.com/2014-new-site/t ... tor-needs/

Whether it's worth the volatility or the perceived extra "complexity" is up to you.

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JoMoney
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Re: Small cap fund index question

Postby JoMoney » Wed Apr 19, 2017 8:46 pm

Jeremy Siegel points this out in "Stocks For the Long Run". Without the extreme performance that occurred during the 1975-1983 period the data since 1926 would not show any small-cap outperformance.
Image

OP, don't forget that small-cap stocks aren't necessarily small companies by any measurement other than "market cap" which is essentially just the market price determined for all the equity in an entire company. If you look at things like numbers of employees, or sales, or other measurements, it would not look like a market-cap weighted index. Small-caps are also where big companies go to die. Sears is a former large-cap company that's now a small-cap company.
"To achieve satisfactory investment results is easier than most people realize; to achieve superior results is harder than it looks." - Benjamin Graham

xrayvsn
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Re: Small cap fund index question

Postby xrayvsn » Thu Apr 20, 2017 8:32 am

Christian NY wrote:I have the same exact question! May I ask what allocation you plan to have within the equities portion of your portfolio? Are you using VOO, VOE, VBR or VB? Or something else? And how do you plan to calculate how much small-cap to buy? Thank you.




As far as my equities portion (75% of my total portfolio), I have it across multiple accounts (work 401k, traditional IRA, HSA, and taxable account) and use all vanguard index funds (55% of total portfolio domestic, 20% international). My domestic has been in the vanguard total stock index (depending on which account admiral shares vs investor designation).

As far as tilting towards small cap (which I only recently started doing), I haven't had a set % I wanted to assign to it just yet. Basically I have been using my HSA as a stealth IRA account and this year I have been diverting those funds into the vanguard small cap index ($6500/yr total) so it really won't amount to too much of my overall portfolio regardless.

The other thing I kind of did that strayed from the "norm" is that I have minimized my % bond allocation to 5% total portfolio, the balance (20%) I have put into the the vanguard REIT fund. This pays out I believe 90% of all proceeds gained as dividends so you want to put it in a tax deferred account.

All of these are of the "buy and hold" type. I estimate at least 10-15 years before I would consider touching them (I'm about to turn 46, looking towards early retirement at 55 or so).

dbr
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Re: Small cap fund index question

Postby dbr » Thu Apr 20, 2017 8:36 am

BhamETFs wrote:Good point. Why would you want to be in a small cap index? Isn't the 500 index good enough ? Ask yourself, how much better is the small cap index then the 500 index?


The subject of factor investing, specifically tilting to small and value, has been discussed in many threads and Larry Swedroe has even written a book on the subject. I agree it remains a point of discussion whether or not a particular investor would choose to tilt to small and value factors and how best to do it, but your question does have a long and complex answer that you can investigate.

NiceUnparticularMan
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Re: Small cap fund index question

Postby NiceUnparticularMan » Thu Apr 20, 2017 8:45 am

If it helps, you could see it as cashing in when the buying opportunity you were looking for has run its course, and then re-investing the proceeds in the next few buying opportunities.

I should note, though, this is part of what makes me nervous about "small growth" stocks (aka small stocks that are also priced high relative to their hard assets or earnings). To the extent those are "lottery ticket" plays, meaning you are making lots of bets knowing many will be losers but hoping a few pay off a lot, you might well worry about selling your few winners before the bet you were implicitly making has actually fully paid off. "Small value" stocks (aka small stocks that are also priced low relative to their hard assets or earnings) are plausibly able to pay off your bet with a lot less market cap increase and with a higher ratio of winners to losers.

Christian NY
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Re: Small cap fund index question

Postby Christian NY » Thu Apr 20, 2017 9:43 am

harvestbook wrote:
BhamETFs wrote:Good point. Why would you want to be in a small cap index? Isn't the 500 index good enough ? Ask yourself, how much better is the small cap index then the 500 index?


Over an investing lifetime, small value could give you 2 to 7 percent premium over the S & P, according to Paul Merriman:

"Start with the S&P 500:

The best 20-year period for that index was 1980 through 1999. Those years produced an annual return of 17.9%.
The worst 20-year period for the index was 1959 through 1978, when the annual return was only 6.5%.
The average return of the 61 20-year periods was 11.6%.
That’s not bad, and not even awful over the worst 20-year period.

Now let’s look at the small-cap value index:

The best 20 calendar years to have invested in small-cap value stocks were 1977 through 1996; the annual return was 24%.
The worst 20 years for this particular index were 1955 through 1974, when the annual return was 9%.
The average return of the 61 20-year periods was 16.7% — an improvement of 46% when compared with the S&P 500.
Here’s one that really surprised me: Of these 61 periods, small-cap value stocks beat the S&P 500 60 times. If that’s not consistency, I don’t know what would qualify."

http://paulmerriman.com/2014-new-site/t ... tor-needs/

Whether it's worth the volatility or the perceived extra "complexity" is up to you.


Hi Harvestbook or anyone who knows,
This is exactly the type of information I've been looking for but I am wondering if there is market data out there that tells us which allocation of large-cap, mid-cap and small-cap performed better over a long time period such as 20 years? For example, my current portfolio is below. Is there research out there that indicates that if I alter the allocation for the equities portion it will produce better results? Question assumes that I won't touch the money for 20 years.
Equities:
VOO 30%
VOE 8%
VBR 13%
An aggressive growth mutual fund 8%
Bonds:
BIV 15%
PONDX 10%
Intl':
VXUS 15%

NiceUnparticularMan
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Re: Small cap fund index question

Postby NiceUnparticularMan » Thu Apr 20, 2017 10:03 am

Christian NY wrote:This is exactly the type of information I've been looking for but I am wondering if there is market data out there that tells us which allocation of large-cap, mid-cap and small-cap performed better over a long time period such as 20 years? For example, my current portfolio is below. Is there research out there that indicates that if I alter the allocation for the equities portion it will produce better results? Question assumes that I won't touch the money for 20 years.


If you believe in the factor research and think it is predictive, positive-small has a higher expected return than negative-small. So in theory you should be 100% small, and adding any large (aka negative-small) or mid (potentially positive-small but less than your actual small) is just diminishing your expected returns.

But you might then still expect tracking error, and in fact even if your factor exposure would eventually pay off as expected, you might still be behind after 20 years. Or you might already be well ahead. That's the really tricky bit about investing in risky assets--they don't necessarily behave as "expected" even over long periods.

And you might also worry about the small growth "anomaly", the observation that small growth (aka small negative-value, aka small expensive) stocks tend to underperform what their factor exposure alone would predict. An expanded factor model may be able to explain this anomaly, but absent doing something fancy, you could argue for simply going 100% in Small Value, thereby avoiding the small growth "anomaly".

And that is where the people who take the academic research seriously tend to end up--you should probably put 100% of your U.S. stocks into SV (if you aren't going to do something fancier). And then just ignore tracking error.

VBR works reasonably well for the purpose of dodging small growth. It gets a 6 in that box when you do a Morningstar Xray, as compared to 31 in the small value box, which is really quite good for a popular small fund. IJS, for example, is a popular alternative because it is smaller and more valuey than VBR, but it also ends up with an 18/42--that's a notably higher ratio of small growth to small value. IWN, same problem--it gets a 16/42. If you can use DFA, then you can start isolating more--DFSVX gets 10/47, with an overall higher factor exposure than VBR. Also really focused options like RZV at 10/64, or JKL--which is basically designed to score as well as possible in this analysis since it tracks Morningstar's style classifications--at 4/62. Note JKL is otherwise much less small and valuey than RZV. And the size of these last couple funds, however, in terms of AUM, might become a concern.

Anyway, that last part about ignoring tracking error is easier said than done, particularly when you start imagining what it would mean over long periods of time.
Last edited by NiceUnparticularMan on Thu Apr 20, 2017 11:45 am, edited 1 time in total.

harvestbook
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Re: Small cap fund index question

Postby harvestbook » Thu Apr 20, 2017 10:59 am

I loosely use a Paul Merriman portfolio because he tracks long time periods and makes a plausible case for value/small tilts. But anything can happen over a single 20-year or 40-year time frame, the specific time frame that personally matters to us. At the end of the day, you just have to sleep at night. I am not fully convinced the Merriman portfolio is better than a simple three-fund portfolio but it's close enough that I feel fine about it. But I am always challenging my opinions and positions because I acknowledge I am not very smart.

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Re: Small cap fund index question

Postby mccannr » Thu Apr 20, 2017 3:00 pm

DW and I tilt heavy small/small-value. We're in our mid 30s.

I've come to the following conclusion about such funds. In the long-term, small/small-value may outperform S&P500, but may well be equal to S&P500--could possibly have worse return. Who knows! I think the best answer to predict future performance is that small/small-value will likely be all of the above across the span of ownership. I.e., small/small-value will at times outperform, underperform, and equal the S&P500. Which result you 'get' depends on when you ultimately sell. I personally think the most significant risk to holding small/small-value is ourselves, not necessarily the fund so long as its held long enough. Since small/small-value can underperform S&P500 fund in short-term, if investors get nervous and sell low, they're almost guaranteeing their "tilt" will result in underperformance of the S&P500. That is, if you're going to do this small/small-value tilt thing--commit. If unsure of being able to do that, TSM or S&P500 is likely the way to go. Less room for anxiety and error.

Lots of wisdom in buying the haystack!

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Re: Small cap fund index question

Postby Christian NY » Thu Apr 20, 2017 3:30 pm

I just ran these two scenarios in portfoliovisualizer and I am confused by the results (below).
The performance is nearly the same (6.57 vs. 6.59) over 10 years (I couldn't use a longer time period on these and I had to use Investor shares and not ETFs), I was expecting a difference of 1-2% per year. Am I doing something wrong?

VFINX Vanguard 500 Index Fund 35.00%
VMVIX Vanguard Mid-Cap Value Index Fund Investor Shares 9.00%
VISVX Vanguard Small-Cap Value Index Fund 15.00%
VBIIX Vanguard Intermediate-Term Bond Index Fund 26.00%
VGTSX Vanguard Total International Stock Index Fund 15.00%

VFINX Vanguard 500 Index Fund 30.00%
VMVIX Vanguard Mid-Cap Value Index Fund Investor Shares 10.00%
VISVX Vanguard Small-Cap Value Index Fund 19.00%
VBIIX Vanguard Intermediate-Term Bond Index Fund 26.00%
VGTSX Vanguard Total International Stock Index Fund 15.00%

Portfolio Returns
Portfolio performance statistics
# Initial Balance Final Balance CAGR Stdev Best Year Worst Year Max. Drawdown Sharpe Ratio Sortino Ratio US Mkt Correlation
1 $10,000 $19,190 6.57% 12.38% 24.48% -26.40% -40.40% 0.53 0.76 0.98
2 $10,000 $19,242 6.59% 12.56% 24.74% -26.19% -40.53% 0.52 0.75 0.98

dbr
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Re: Small cap fund index question

Postby dbr » Thu Apr 20, 2017 4:23 pm

Christian NY wrote:I just ran these two scenarios in portfoliovisualizer and I am confused by the results (below).
The performance is nearly the same (6.57 vs. 6.59) over 10 years (I couldn't use a longer time period on these and I had to use Investor shares and not ETFs), I was expecting a difference of 1-2% per year. Am I doing something wrong?

VFINX Vanguard 500 Index Fund 35.00%
VMVIX Vanguard Mid-Cap Value Index Fund Investor Shares 9.00%
VISVX Vanguard Small-Cap Value Index Fund 15.00%
VBIIX Vanguard Intermediate-Term Bond Index Fund 26.00%
VGTSX Vanguard Total International Stock Index Fund 15.00%

VFINX Vanguard 500 Index Fund 30.00%
VMVIX Vanguard Mid-Cap Value Index Fund Investor Shares 10.00%
VISVX Vanguard Small-Cap Value Index Fund 19.00%
VBIIX Vanguard Intermediate-Term Bond Index Fund 26.00%
VGTSX Vanguard Total International Stock Index Fund 15.00%

Portfolio Returns
Portfolio performance statistics
# Initial Balance Final Balance CAGR Stdev Best Year Worst Year Max. Drawdown Sharpe Ratio Sortino Ratio US Mkt Correlation
1 $10,000 $19,190 6.57% 12.38% 24.48% -26.40% -40.40% 0.53 0.76 0.98
2 $10,000 $19,242 6.59% 12.56% 24.74% -26.19% -40.53% 0.52 0.75 0.98


I would have expected a difference of about 0.03 between 6.48 and 6.51. The only surprise to me is that your ten year result would come out that close one I computed myself from Rick Ferri's thirty year forecast. That seems rather unlikley, but so be it.

How did you arrive at your idea of a 1%-2% difference a year?

lack_ey
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Re: Small cap fund index question

Postby lack_ey » Thu Apr 20, 2017 4:50 pm

Yeah, how do you get to 1-2% annualized return difference for the total portfolio by replacing 5% of the holdings with relatively similar things? Your substitution obviously has to do amazingly better (well into double digit excess returns per year) for it to have that kind of impact.

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Re: Small cap fund index question

Postby nisiprius » Thu Apr 20, 2017 5:16 pm

xrayvsn wrote:...My question is in regard to long term holding of the vanguard small cap index fund. Obviously you want these companies to grow and increase in value to make gains in investment however by the very nature of the fund won't your "winners" in the index eventually get too big and thus leave this fund? And then are all you are stuck with are the companies that really haven't skyrocketed up in price?...
First, I don't think I like your not-fully-stated assumption--that small companies must grow faster because they're small. A long-term investor cares about total return, and small companies tend to grow faster in capital appreciation (as indicated by stock price), but mature companies tend to pay out more in dividends, so even if small companies tend to grow more quickly, in terms of total return it's not that simple. But never mind. Let's grant your assumption.

This is the key point I think you're missing: when they "leave" the fund, the fund must sell them. They don't just get lost. You get paid for them. You get the total accumulated benefit of their capital appreciation. You've squeezed out all the juice they had during the period of time when they are small. Now they leave the small-cap index and index fund and enter the mid-cap index and index fund. Now some other investor gets the benefit of everything they earn now that they're mid-caps. You take first crack at them, then you hand them off to some other investor who believes in mid-caps.

In your view, those companies are going to grow more slowly now that they've "grown up" into stodgy, respectable mid-caps. You should be glad to get rid of them. Let someone else take them now. You will stay in the small-cap fund and let it buy smaller, you-think-better companies while the suckers get your discards.

(But think about this! Investors have put a total of $75 billion in the Vanguard Small-Cap index fund, but $84 billion in the Vanguard Mid-Cap index fund. Someone must think mid-caps are good for something).

You've probably made a second assumption that you didn't state clearly. You've assumed that there are "good stocks" and "bad stocks" and that good stocks permanently stay good and bad stocks permanently stay bad. You have basically created a stock-picking formula: the stocks that grow most quickly out of the small-cap category must be the permanently-good stocks. It sounds as if you might be interested in factor-based strategies in general, and the momentum factor in particular.
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Christian NY
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Re: Small cap fund index question

Postby Christian NY » Thu Apr 20, 2017 8:32 pm

Oh, sorry, the difference is 6.57 vs 6.59 in my particular example, that is of course assuming I did everything right (first time using portfoliovisualizer). What I was trying to say is I was guessing (incorrectly) that the difference would be much greater since you're taking on more risk with small-cap.

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Re: Small cap fund index question

Postby mccannr » Thu Apr 20, 2017 10:10 pm

[quote="JoMoney"]Jeremy Siegel points this out in "Stocks For the Long Run". Without the extreme performance that occurred during the 1975-1983 period the data since 1926 would not show any small-cap outperformance.
Image

That may have been true when Siegel wrote that, but if you take the year right after the mentioned 1975-1983 time frame, i.e., 1984, and chart to present...

SCV>S&P500.

Portfoliovisualizer asset comparison, 1984-present, 100% SCV to 100% LC, $1 at start and no contributions (like Siegel's chart?):

Portfolio performance statistics
# Initial Balance Final Balance CAGR Stdev Best Year Worst Year Max. Drawdown Sharpe Ratio Sortino Ratio US Mkt Corr
LC $1.00 $30.50 10.85% 15.10% 37.45% -37.02% -50.97% 0.53 0.77 0.99
SCV $1.00 $51.96 12.65% 17.52% 42.96% -32.05% -56.13% 0.58 0.82 0.89

Also actual fund comparison, 2001-present, 100% IJR to 100% SPY, $1 at start and no contributions :

Portfolio performance statistics
# Initial Balance Final Balance CAGR Stdev Best Year Worst Year Max. Drawdown Sharpe Ratio Sortino Ratio US Mkt Corr
SPY $1.00 $2.45 5.68% 14.80% 32.31% -36.81% -50.80% 0.36 0.51 0.99
IJR $1.00 $4.56 9.79% 18.36% 41.32% -31.52% -51.79% 0.53 0.79 0.90

Results differ with regular contributions...

Obviously these can RTM, but it seems Siegel's chart is no longer valid at the present time.

Edit: Siegel is still right :happy I see the chart is for SC only, not SCV :oops: Will leave the above for public shaming.

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Re: Small cap fund index question

Postby dbr » Fri Apr 21, 2017 7:41 am

Christian NY wrote:Oh, sorry, the difference is 6.57 vs 6.59 in my particular example, that is of course assuming I did everything right (first time using portfoliovisualizer). What I was trying to say is I was guessing (incorrectly) that the difference would be much greater since you're taking on more risk with small-cap.


But as the numbers you ran show you hardly took on more risk at least in volatility of returns.

The real point is that using diversification over factors requires a serious commitment to a big shift in asset allocation. This isn't about adding a dash of salt and a pinch of pepper. To get a 2% increase in expected return you have to do things like shift 100% TSM to 50% TSM, 50% small cap value. If you want maximum Sharpe or Sortino ratios, then historically in portfolio visualizer you would invest 100% in small cap value.

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JoMoney
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Re: Small cap fund index question

Postby JoMoney » Fri Apr 21, 2017 9:48 am

dbr wrote:
Christian NY wrote:Oh, sorry, the difference is 6.57 vs 6.59 in my particular example, that is of course assuming I did everything right (first time using portfoliovisualizer). What I was trying to say is I was guessing (incorrectly) that the difference would be much greater since you're taking on more risk with small-cap.


But as the numbers you ran show you hardly took on more risk at least in volatility of returns.

The real point is that using diversification over factors requires a serious commitment to a big shift in asset allocation. This isn't about adding a dash of salt and a pinch of pepper. To get a 2% increase in expected return you have to do things like shift 100% TSM to 50% TSM, 50% small cap value. If you want maximum Sharpe or Sortino ratios, then historically in portfolio visualizer you would invest 100% in small cap value.

But trying to measure the risk based on the volatility would be silly if you're a factor tilter, the whole premise seems to be that you're buying stocks with unique risks not measured by the market beta or relative standard deviation in price
To quote Fama and French:
"If asset-pricing is rational, size and book/market must proxy for risk.
If stock prices are irrational however, the persistence is suspect."
"To achieve satisfactory investment results is easier than most people realize; to achieve superior results is harder than it looks." - Benjamin Graham

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Re: Small cap fund index question

Postby stlutz » Fri Apr 21, 2017 7:12 pm

First, I don't think I like your not-fully-stated assumption--that small companies must grow faster because they're small.


The question isn't whether an individual small company can grow faster than, say, Exxon Mobil. Of course it can. The question is whether all of the small cap companies in aggregate can double in size while everyone else stays the same. Probably not.

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Re: Small cap fund index question

Postby rkhusky » Fri Apr 21, 2017 7:35 pm

JoMoney wrote:Sears is a former large-cap company that's now a small-cap company.
So Sears is an example of a small value stock?

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patrick013
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Re: Small cap fund index question

Postby patrick013 » Fri Apr 21, 2017 8:08 pm

Who really cares what Fama or French say.

If you can't look at a standard stock chart and see what's going on.

Take a 10 or 20 or 30 or even an infinite study, but even a further
study reflecting some market trends...smaller caps have some more
efficient growth in return. But when ? Pre-recession or just sporadic ?
That's my question for people like Larry S.

The thing people like about select large caps (the 500) is the information
available. We don't know if the small caps are fluke technologies or just
new tech waiting to be bought out by mega-corps, OR, the one stock
in hundreds that makes UPS a quantity, like Amazon. Or just large caps
waiting to enter new products with new tech into the marketplace.

Old tech, new tech, even domestic only stocks are a casino so to
speak. Equal weight large, medium, small cap, would let efficiency
stand up IMHO.
age in bonds, buy-and-hold, 10 year business cycle

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Re: Small cap fund index question

Postby pkcrafter » Fri Apr 21, 2017 8:20 pm

Christian wrote:
just ran these two scenarios in portfoliovisualizer and I am confused by the results (below).
The performance is nearly the same (6.57 vs. 6.59) over 10 years (I couldn't use a longer time period on these and I had to use Investor shares and not ETFs), I was expecting a difference of 1-2% per year. Am I doing something wrong?

I don't know, but I do know that the small premium comes and goes, and there have been 10 years periods where is simply did not show up. If it were easier to capture, there would not be a premium. In fact the entire market is rather unpredictable. Backtesting will only give you hints. People complain when backtesting time is too short--not enough data! and when it's very long it doesn't tell you much about the next 10 or 20 years. Decades can go by where the market refuses to follow historical patterns or returns. That's also why trying to time the market by historical patters is futile.

This is exactly the type of information I've been looking for but I am wondering if there is market data out there that tells us which allocation of large-cap, mid-cap and small-cap performed better over a long time period such as 20 years?

Sure there is, but what good is it going to do you? Nisiprius often brings this to our attention--has performed...very different than will perform. The market is notorious for not following our rules or orderly conduct. :confused All part of the risk story.


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When times are good, investors tend to forget about risk and focus on opportunity. When times are bad, investors tend to forget about opportunity and focus on risk.

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Re: Small cap fund index question

Postby JoMoney » Fri Apr 21, 2017 11:45 pm

rkhusky wrote:
JoMoney wrote:Sears is a former large-cap company that's now a small-cap company.
So Sears is an example of a small value stock?

Looks like it's in Vanguard's Small-Value index fund, hits Morningstar's small-value style box, and from a Fama-French Factor regression on PortfolioVisualizer it has a a positive loading on Size (SmB) and Value (HmL)
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Re: Small cap fund index question

Postby NiceUnparticularMan » Sat Apr 22, 2017 6:01 am

rkhusky wrote:
JoMoney wrote:Sears is a former large-cap company that's now a small-cap company.
So Sears is an example of a small value stock?


Small extreme-growth, no? I believe it currently has negative earnings and book value.

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Re: Small cap fund index question

Postby JoMoney » Sat Apr 22, 2017 6:22 am

NiceUnparticularMan wrote:
rkhusky wrote:
JoMoney wrote:Sears is a former large-cap company that's now a small-cap company.
So Sears is an example of a small value stock?


Small extreme-growth, no? I believe it currently has negative earnings and book value.

It's not currently a "growth" stock under any style definition I'm aware of. Yes, negative earnings, negative book value... negative equity. I'm not sure what an investor is getting out of it other than heaps of debt. I've heard stories that supposedly there's value in the real estate, and maybe some brands, that's being carried on the books below fair value. I've also heard that's rubbish.
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Re: Small cap fund index question

Postby rkhusky » Sat Apr 22, 2017 6:53 am

JoMoney wrote:
rkhusky wrote:
JoMoney wrote:Sears is a former large-cap company that's now a small-cap company.
So Sears is an example of a small value stock?

Looks like it's in Vanguard's Small-Value index fund, hits Morningstar's small-value style box, and from a Fama-French Factor regression on PortfolioVisualizer it has a a positive loading on Size (SmB) and Value (HmL)


I imagine it was a growth stock in the past. Perhaps individual stocks are not so well described by a FF model over a long period of time. But it does seem like Sears would be the type of bet that small value investors are looking for. By holding a thousand or so of these type of companies, either mid/large companies that have hit bad times or small upcoming companies that analysts have doubts about, one hopes that enough hit the jackpot over time to outweigh those that go bankrupt.

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Re: Small cap fund index question

Postby JoMoney » Sat Apr 22, 2017 7:17 am

rkhusky wrote:
JoMoney wrote:
rkhusky wrote:
JoMoney wrote:Sears is a former large-cap company that's now a small-cap company.
So Sears is an example of a small value stock?

Looks like it's in Vanguard's Small-Value index fund, hits Morningstar's small-value style box, and from a Fama-French Factor regression on PortfolioVisualizer it has a a positive loading on Size (SmB) and Value (HmL)


I imagine it was a growth stock in the past. Perhaps individual stocks are not so well described by a FF model over a long period of time. But it does seem like Sears would be the type of bet that small value investors are looking for. By holding a thousand or so of these type of companies, either mid/large companies that have hit bad times or small upcoming companies that analysts have doubts about, one hopes that enough hit the jackpot over time to outweigh those that go bankrupt.

As far as I can tell, it's a stock that fits the "risk story" explanation for small value.
In 2005 when the remnants of K-Mart (having emerged from bankruptcy) bought Sears & Roebuck, the company (SHLD) was considered a large-growth stock by the indexes (it was one of the 50 largest companies in the S&P 500)... in 2012 it had worked it's way down to being a "Mid-Cap", and was no longer in the S&P 500 for various reasons.

Apple would be a good example of a company in a death spiral that turned it around into incredible growth... but I wonder how much of that turn around was captured by a value investor before they traded it off because it was no longer fitting the style metrics....
I took a look at where it fit into Vanguard's funds at various points in time:
On 2003-06-30 Apple Computer fell into a "Value Index" style
On 2003-12-31 Apple Computer was in both Growth and Value Index funds (so 'blend' I guess)
On 2004-12-31 Apple Computer was only in the Growth Index (no longer in Value)
...Morningstar chart since then....
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Re: Small cap fund index question

Postby NiceUnparticularMan » Sat Apr 22, 2017 7:48 am

JoMoney wrote:Looks like it's in Vanguard's Small-Value index fund, hits Morningstar's small-value style box, and from a Fama-French Factor regression on PortfolioVisualizer it has a a positive loading on Size (SmB) and Value (HmL)


I'm thinking that information is out-dated.

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Re: Small cap fund index question

Postby NiceUnparticularMan » Sat Apr 22, 2017 7:53 am

JoMoney wrote:It's not currently a "growth" stock under any style definition I'm aware of.


That's the problem with the term "growth"--it means different things to different people.

If you are defining it just in terms of something like high price to earnings or book value, though, then negative earnings/book would make it an extreme growth stock.

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Re: Small cap fund index question

Postby JoMoney » Sat Apr 22, 2017 7:59 am

NiceUnparticularMan wrote:
JoMoney wrote:It's not currently a "growth" stock under any style definition I'm aware of.


That's the problem with the term "growth"--it means different things to different people.

If you are defining it just in terms of something like high price to earnings or book value, though, then negative earnings/book would make it an extreme growth stock.

Right, I usually don't try to distinguish between the styles, but there are very clear definitions that an index, or factor investor uses.
I'm partial to what Warren Buffett has said,
Warren Buffett in 2000 Letter to BRK Shareholders wrote:...Common yardsticks such as dividend yield, the ratio of price to earnings or to book value, and even growth rates have nothing to do with valuation except to the extent they provide clues to the amount and timing of cash flows into and from the business. Indeed, growth can destroy value if it requires cash inputs in the early years of a project or enterprise that exceed the discounted value of the cash that those assets will generate in later years. Market commentators and investment managers who glibly refer to "growth" and "value" styles as contrasting approaches to investment are displaying their ignorance, not their sophistication. Growth is simply a component ¾ usually a plus, sometimes a minus ¾ in the value equation.
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Re: Small cap fund index question

Postby NiceUnparticularMan » Sat Apr 22, 2017 8:03 am

rkhusky wrote:But it does seem like Sears would be the type of bet that small value investors are looking for. By holding a thousand or so of these type of companies, either mid/large companies that have hit bad times or small upcoming companies that analysts have doubts about, one hopes that enough hit the jackpot over time to outweigh those that go bankrupt.


At least if you are a FF-style SV investor, you are looking for stocks where the price is low relative to something like their earnings, book value, or so on. These might be MILDLY distressed companies, but when all that has gone negative you should be filtering those out. At that point, you are now talking about stocks in the small growth "lottery ticket" category.

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Re: Small cap fund index question

Postby NiceUnparticularMan » Sat Apr 22, 2017 8:13 am

JoMoney wrote:Right, I usually don't try to distinguish between the styles, but there are very clear definitions that an index, or factor investor uses.


So I am pretty sure any FF-style factor investor should be categorizing Sears as a small "growth" stock right now (or more precisely, a positive-small, very-negative-value, stock).

Vanguard's Small Value fund uses the CRSP US Small Cap Value Index. That is not a perfect proxy for FF-style analysis, of course. But according to CRSP:

http://www.crsp.com/products/investment ... alue-index

CRSP classifies value securities using the following factors: book to price, forward earnings to price, historic earnings to price, dividend-to-price ratio and sales-to-price ratio.


I would think it would be on its way out based on this definition, but I guess we shall see.

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Re: Small cap fund index question

Postby JoMoney » Sat Apr 22, 2017 8:17 am

I'd wager it's on it's way out, but not because it's going to suddenly become a growth stock.
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Re: Small cap fund index question

Postby NiceUnparticularMan » Sat Apr 22, 2017 9:07 am

JoMoney wrote:I'd wager it's on it's way out, but not because it's going to suddenly become a growth stock.


Again, that depends on your definition.

For a FF-type, a "growth" stock is just a negative-value stock. And it sure is that!

CRSP says:

CRSP classifies growth securities using the following factors: future long-term growth in earnings per share (EPS), future short-term growth in EPS, 3-year historical growth in EPS, 3-year historical growth in sales per share, current investment-to-assets ratio, and return on assets.


So, I don't know what they are going to do, but maybe they won't classify it as a growth stock (although aren't current buyers somehow betting that there will in fact be some sort of "growth" that will return the company, or at least its assets minus liabilities, to having value?).

This may be one of the most important sources of confusion about this issue. "Growth" in the factor sense is not necessarily "growth" in the sense mutual fund companies and such use the term. And factor investors would probably be better off only taking in terms like "negative-value", and not use terms like "growth".

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Re: Small cap fund index question

Postby rkhusky » Sat Apr 22, 2017 11:45 am

NiceUnparticularMan wrote:
JoMoney wrote:Right, I usually don't try to distinguish between the styles, but there are very clear definitions that an index, or factor investor uses.


So I am pretty sure any FF-style factor investor should be categorizing Sears as a small "growth" stock right now (or more precisely, a positive-small, very-negative-value, stock).

Vanguard's Small Value fund uses the CRSP US Small Cap Value Index. That is not a perfect proxy for FF-style analysis, of course. But according to CRSP:

http://www.crsp.com/products/investment ... alue-index

CRSP classifies value securities using the following factors: book to price, forward earnings to price, historic earnings to price, dividend-to-price ratio and sales-to-price ratio.


I would think it would be on its way out based on this definition, but I guess we shall see.


Sears is clearly a value stock, probably a deep value stock. I do not see how one could possibly label it a growth stock. It clearly has positive value attributes.

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Re: Small cap fund index question

Postby JoMoney » Sat Apr 22, 2017 12:01 pm

rkhusky wrote:...
Sears is clearly a value stock, probably a deep value stock. I do not see how one could possibly label it a growth stock. It clearly has positive value attributes.
It is, clearly... CRSP (and most other indexes) just set the negative attributes to zero, and failing to have any growth attributes of either historically high earnings growth or expected earnings growth it's lumped in as an extremely low price to book stock.
As far as FF-Factors go though, I think I saw a paper somewhere explaining they didn't/don't include negative book value stocks as being 'growth' or 'value'. They also don't consider liquidity or the actual investability of the stocks when calculating the factors, there's another paper that shows when screened for adequate liquidity (as every investable index does) it seems to disproportionately positively impact the growth stock portfolio, possibly explaining why the 'value premium' hasn't really showed up when looking at real world mutual funds.
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Re: Small cap fund index question

Postby rkhusky » Sat Apr 22, 2017 12:52 pm

JoMoney wrote:
rkhusky wrote:...
Sears is clearly a value stock, probably a deep value stock. I do not see how one could possibly label it a growth stock. It clearly has positive value attributes.
It is, clearly... CRSP (and most other indexes) just set the negative attributes to zero, and failing to have any growth attributes of either historically high earnings growth or expected earnings growth it's lumped in as an extremely low price to book stock.
As far as FF-Factors go though, I think I saw a paper somewhere explaining they didn't/don't include negative book value stocks as being 'growth' or 'value'. They also don't consider liquidity or the actual investability of the stocks when calculating the factors, there's another paper that shows when screened for adequate liquidity (as every investable index does) it seems to disproportionately positively impact the growth stock portfolio, possibly explaining why the 'value premium' hasn't really showed up when looking at real world mutual funds.


Yes, I just checked the FF definitions and BE<0 is category of its own, which I presume to mean that they didn't include it in either high or low BE/ME

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Re: Small cap fund index question

Postby stlutz » Sat Apr 22, 2017 12:55 pm

FWIW, on the Russell side Sears is a part of both the growth and the value indices.

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Re: Small cap fund index question

Postby NiceUnparticularMan » Sat Apr 22, 2017 12:58 pm

rkhusky wrote:Sears is clearly a value stock, probably a deep value stock. I do not see how one could possibly label it a growth stock. It clearly has positive value attributes.


The original FF three-factor model used high book to market (BtM) to define "value" stocks. Sears has negative book value. Therefore it is the opposite of a value stock in FF terms.

So here is a typical "value" scenario for a distressed company. A stock is trading at average BtM. Something bad happens to the company, and its book value decreases by 25%. Its market value decreases even more, by 50%. Now its BtM is above average. So now it is a "value" stock.

But since Sears has negative book value, it is not possible for the price to be low enough to make it a high BtM stock--they'd actually have to be paying you to take Sears shares! So it cannot possibly be a value stock. And again, somehow or another, investors in Sears these days must be expecting some sort of "growth" in its earnings, asset value, or something to make their investment pay off.

I think this is a very good example of how what people sometimes say about growth and value companies and how factor investors view those classifications can be quite different. And that difference explains a lot of the confusion in these conversations.

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Re: Small cap fund index question

Postby rkhusky » Sat Apr 22, 2017 5:42 pm

NiceUnparticularMan wrote:
rkhusky wrote:Sears is clearly a value stock, probably a deep value stock. I do not see how one could possibly label it a growth stock. It clearly has positive value attributes.


The original FF three-factor model used high book to market (BtM) to define "value" stocks. Sears has negative book value. Therefore it is the opposite of a value stock in FF terms.

Value would also be low market to book, so Sears also fits the value definition. It is apparent that when book or market value approaches zero or is negative, then the use of book to market becomes uninformative. F&F obviously realized this and chose not to include negative book value companies in their formulation.

I view growth stocks as stocks that most people think are going to increase in value in the future and value stocks as stocks that most people do not think are going to do well in the future. Sears fits the latter definition.

Besides, JoMoney noted above that it has a positive HmL factor, indicating that it tracks better with value stocks than growth stocks. Perhaps that is the best indicator of it being a value stock and not dependent on an ill-defined book to market value.

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Re: Small cap fund index question

Postby NiceUnparticularMan » Sat Apr 22, 2017 7:21 pm

rkhusky wrote:Value would also be low market to book, so Sears also fits the value definition.


How do you figure? Sears has a market cap of about $1.43B. If Sears had a book value of $1, it would have an incredibly high market to book. If Sears had a book value of -1, it would not have a lower market to book, it would have an even higher one.

Negative market to book values are an odd thing--a negative market to book of -2 is actually lower, not higher, then a negative market to book of -1, in the FF sense of low. So it is not surprising FF excluded them. But they are off the high end of the spectrum, not off the low end of the spectrum.

It is apparent that when book or market value approaches zero or is negative, then the use of book to market becomes uninformative.


I wouldn't say that. I'd say it indicates investors must believe the book value is somehow wrong, or is bound to improve back to positive. Counting on book value to improve in order to justify the price is growth-type thinking, of an admittedly extreme form.

I view growth stocks as stocks that most people think are going to increase in value in the future and value stocks as stocks that most people do not think are going to do well in the future. Sears fits the latter definition.


That's certainly how some people market things like "growth" funds. But that's not the FF definition. And a lot of confusion is caused by that difference.

But again, necessarily anyone investing in Sears right now must believe the company is going to radically increase in value. So even by your definitions, that is growth-type reasoning. "Most people" might think those investors are crazy, but if you buy Sears stock, you are one of those crazy ones.

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Re: Small cap fund index question

Postby rkhusky » Sat Apr 22, 2017 8:23 pm

NiceUnparticularMan wrote:[
But again, necessarily anyone investing in Sears right now must believe the company is going to radically increase in value. So even by your definitions, that is growth-type reasoning.

No, that is value-type reasoning, i.e. no one else sees the value in the stock but we think it has a chance of bouncing back. Growth-type reasoning is that everyone else is bonkers over this stock and thinks its the next great thing, let's get on the bandwagon too.

NiceUnparticularMan wrote:
rkhusky wrote:Value would also be low market to book, so Sears also fits the value definition.


How do you figure? Sears has a market cap of about $1.43B. If Sears had a book value of $1, it would have an incredibly high market to book. If Sears had a book value of -1, it would not have a lower market to book, it would have an even higher one.

Negative market to book values are an odd thing--a negative market to book of -2 is actually lower, not higher, then a negative market to book of -1, in the FF sense of low. So it is not surprising FF excluded them. But they are off the high end of the spectrum, not off the low end of the spectrum.

-1.43B is lower than 1.43B. It is an odd thing, so one should not use it. Go with the positive HmL factor if its been stable for the last few years.

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Re: Small cap fund index question

Postby NiceUnparticularMan » Sat Apr 22, 2017 10:38 pm

rkhusky wrote:No, that is value-type reasoning, i.e. no one else sees the value in the stock but we think it has a chance of bouncing back.


If "no one else" sees the value of Sears stock, why is it so expensive?

For value investors, they, the other people, are the ones setting the price. If we, the value investors, think these other people are setting too low of a price, we might think the stock is worth buying. But if we, the value investors, were setting the price, it wouldn't be underpriced. And if we, the value investors, think other people are setting too high a price, we will not be interested. And if you use the relation between market value and book value as your measure of relative pricing, value investors will see Sears as being radically overpriced, by these other people setting the price, and won't be interested.

You really are confusing this with the scenario where book value drops 25% and market value drops 50%. That fits your description. When value drops but market value stays the same, that isn't a "value" stock in the FF sense, that has become a negative-value stock in the FF sense. Sears is an extreme version of this.

Growth-type reasoning is that everyone else is bonkers over this stock and thinks its the next great thing, let's get on the bandwagon too.


Again, that's marketing hype. All FF-type analysis tells you about a "growth" stock is that the market price is higher than the book value would seem to warrant. If investors are being rational, they must expect the value of the company to increase such as to warrant that market price.

Now of course that could happen if investors in the stock think it is "the next great thing." But a stock with low (or negative) book value and a high market price because investors think it is the next great thing and a stock with low (or negative) book value and a high market price because investors think it has some other sort of hidden value are going to look identical in FF-type analysis.

-1.43B is lower than 1.43B. It is an odd thing, so one should not use it. Go with the positive HmL factor if its been stable for the last few years.


Negative market to book ratios are not THAT odd, if you are familiar with this basic graph:

Image

For a given market value, the lower the positive book value, the higher the market to book ratio. That is what the right side of the graph is indicating. As you approach zero, this ratio tangentially approaches positive infinity. At zero book value there is a discontinuity, and then you switch over to negative infinity. As book value goes more and more negative, this ratio tangentially approaches zero from below. That is what the left side of the graph is indicating.

Sears is somewhere on the left side. But as long as you understand how this works mathematically, it really isn't that odd, and in fact you can use the values on the left side to convey information just as well as you can use values on the right side--you just need to know how that works.

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Re: Small cap fund index question

Postby rkhusky » Sun Apr 23, 2017 7:20 am

If negative book value is not such a big a deal, why did F&F separate out those stocks? Because the FF model is a linear model and cannot handle the discontinuity or the extreme values when book or market approach zero. Again, take a look at the HmL factor and if it is stable and the r2 value is large enough, that should tell you whether it is a value stock or not in the context of the FF model. If you believe the FF model, that is.


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