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Market Attributes: U.S. Equity Indices Get Howard Silverblatt's take on the latest monthly performance of the U.S. equity market.
BY Howard Silverblatt

• The S&P 500® was up 0.48% in June, bringing the YTD return to 1.67%.

• The Dow Jones Industrial Average® was down 0.59% for the month and was down 1.81% YTD.

• The S&P MidCap 400® was up 0.27% for the month and up 2.69% YTD.

• The S&P SmallCap 600® was up 0.98% in June and up 8.66% YTD.


Viewed from the bottom line 0.48% June gain (0.62% with dividends), the month was boring. However, judging from the sector results (consumer staples up 4.15% and industrials down 3.43%) or issue level variance (107 issues up at least 5% and 69 down at least 5%; 34.9% of the index) there was action, with a good number of winners and losers. Over the quarter, YTD—heck, since the Nov. 8, 2016, election, the index has done what it usually does: meld issues and results (on a market-weighted basis), which can also result in reducing risk. Year-to-date, the index was up 1.67% (2.65% with dividends), but over 45% of the issues have moved at least 10% (121 up and 114 down; 45.6% of the index). Since the election, the index was up 27.05% (31.32% with dividends), but 23.8% of the issues (120) were in the red. The takeaway performance stat since the election is a 57.8% spread between the best sector, information technology (up 52.4%), and the worst sector, telecommunication services (-5.4%). The takeaway for investors is that it’s a trader’s market that can make or break you. If you “know” the right sector or stock, buy it, and I’ll recognize you since you will be buying at the bar, but if you are wrong, I’ll also recognize you because you will be the one crying over your domestic draft beer. If you don’t know, an index (and there are many out there from many institutions) is an alternative since it melds the results and spreads the risk—but it also reduces potential profits if you are right. If you are only partially sure, you can still find an index or other instrument (many with specific types of approaches and weighting) that suits your risk level. Finally, if you “know for sure” what to buy, you might want to plan for a call from the friendly people at the SEC if you make the trade.

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