Investment in Innovation: Opportunities for Potential Outperformance across the Market-Cap Spectrum

S&P GIVI® Japan and Major Single Factors Q2 2020

ETF Transactions by U.S. Insurers in Q1 2020

S&P Latin America Equity Indices Quantitative Analysis Q1 2020

S&P Latin America Equity Indices Quantitative Analysis Q2 2020

Investment in Innovation: Opportunities for Potential Outperformance across the Market-Cap Spectrum

Contributor Image
John van Moyland

Managing Director, Global Head of S&P Kensho Indices

It is of no surprise to anyone following the markets of late that the returns of larger companies have generally fared better than their smaller brethren during the pandemic.  The extent of this dynamic was brought into sharp relief when looking at YTD total returns through May 29, 2020: the large-cap S&P 500® returned -4.97%; the S&P MidCap 400® returned -13.86%; and the S&P SmallCap 600® returned -20.81%.  In the small-cap segment, the Russell 2000 reflected the same story over this period with a return of -15.95%. 

Meanwhile, the equivalent market-cap segments of the S&P Kensho New Economies Composite Index, which seeks to capture the industries and innovation of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, have significantly outperformed their broad market peers by 3.96%, 9.35%, and a substantial 16.49%, respectively, over this same time period (see Exhibit 1).


This persistent outperformance across market-cap segments may illustrate the positive impact of the security selection effect and underscores the benefits of a robust, disciplined, and transparent framework when investing in innovation and growth.

This commentary will discuss our approach to capturing the New Economies and explore how persistent this pattern has been over different time periods and weighting strategies.  Let’s start out with some context setting.

S&P GIVI® Japan and Major Single Factors Q2 2020

Contributor Image
Izzy Wang

Analyst, Strategy Indices

The S&P GIVI (Global Intrinsic Value Index) Japan underperformed its benchmark index, the S&P Japan BMI, by 6.09% in Q2 2020. Since its launch in March 2012, the S&P GIVI Japan has underperformed its benchmark index by 62 bps per year, with a tracking error of 2.68%.

Following the sharp decline in Q1 2020, the Japanese equity market rebounded by 11.77% in Q2 2020, as measured by the S&P Japan BMI. However, the S&P Japan BMI posted -8.31% YTD. As in other major markets, the recovery in Q2 2020 was mainly boosted by government stimulus and good news in the fight against COVID-19. This quarter, the Japanese government approved a record stimulus package equaling about 40% of GDP to prevent COVID-19 from causing further economic deterioration. After lifting the National State of Emergency in late-May, the Japanese economy started to gradually reopen. While partially encouraged by these positive signs, investors stayed cautious amid the uncertainties around U.S.-China tensions and a second wave of COVID-19 cases. 

As the economy gradually reopened, almost all sectors showed signs of rebounding. Materials, Consumer Discretionary, and Industrials, which were severely hurt in Q1 2020, had strong comebacks, with double-digit returns this quarter. Hotels and Industrial REITs contributed the most to the mild recovery in Real Estate, while Office provided some drag. Information Technology was the bestperforming sector, due to increased demand for hardware and software support in the new normal of internet-based life. Health Care and Communication Services, the two sectors whose performance benefited from the COVID-19 crisis for providing healthcare products and supporting social distancing practices, respectively, continued to lead in Q2 2020 and reversed the loss from the previous quarter. Utilities was the only sector that posted a negative return, largely due to the dire economic projection. 

The underperformance of the S&P GIVI Japan in Q2 2020 was mainly due to the selection effect in Industrials and Information Technology.  

ETF Transactions by U.S. Insurers in Q1 2020


In May 2020, we published our annual study of ETF usage by U.S. insurance companies. The data for that analysis is only available annually. However, because of the market volatility in the first quarter of 2020, we wanted to analyze the use of ETFs by U.S. insurance companies prior to the next annual analysis. While holdings data is not available on a quarterly basis, we were able to analyze ETF transactions. In Q1 2020, U.S. insurance companies increased their ETF usage by USD 4.1 billion, as well as the number of transactions.


In the first quarter of 2020, insurance companies traded USD 24.6 billion in ETFs (see Exhibit 1).  This amount is roughly on scale with the total holdings of USD 31.2 billion as of year-end 2019.   

Exhibit 1

S&P Latin America Equity Indices Quantitative Analysis Q1 2020

S&P Latin America Equity Indices Commentary: Q1 2020

This new decade has not really started well—if only we could jump straight to 2021. Amid the overwhelming impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on public health and on the economy, perhaps what resonates best is that “this too will pass.”

U.S. equities, which serve as a guidepost for the global economy, surpassed prior all-time highs in volatility. VIX®, also known as the “fear gauge” has not reached similar highs since the global financial crisis (GFC) in 2008. The higher the uncertainty, the higher the option prices that are used to calculate VIX. The precipitousdrop in oil prices following a price war between Russia and Saudi Arabia threatened a collapse of the Energy sector, adding to the uncertainty in the U.S. and globally. Unemployment in the U.S. continued to rise—in the last two weeks of the quarter, nearly 10 million American applied for unemployment benefits following the shutdown of thousands of businesses. It’s expected that this number is only a sign of further job losses to come and that unemployment filings will double in the coming weeks. Many impacted businesses are in the travel, entertainment, restaurant, retail, and real estate industries.

What about Latin America? Like a tsunami that started in Asia then ravaged Europe, COVID-19 and its effects are now flooding the Americas. Despite the closing of borders and quarantines, the pandemic continues to sweep the continent. Governments have started to institute policies to minimize the public health and the economic impact. Similar to the U.S., which has approved a USD 2 trillion stimulus package to help mitigate the effects of the pandemic, Brazil has approved around USD 30 billion. Peru is also reviewing a similar package. In Chile, the president approved a USD 12 billion package. In Argentina, the World Bank will lend USD 300 million in emergency funds. Colombia and Mexico have not yet announced any major economic measures at this time. The question many ask is, will all this be enough? In the midst of uncertainty, the answer depends on how quickly the pandemic recedes and life goes back to normal.

According to S&P Global’s rating analysts, it is expected that the outbreak will push Latin America into a recession in 2020, recording its weakest growth since the GFC. They have also forecast that GDP will contract by 1.3% in 2020, before bouncing back to a growth rate of 2.7% in 2021. Finally, the length of the recession—although potentially worse in some countries—may be much shorter: only two quarters are projected versus six quarters during the GFC.1

Latin American markets underperformed global markets during the first quarter. All gains from the previous years were completely wiped out. The S&P Latin America 40 posted the worst quarter on record, ending at -46% in USD terms. In comparison, the S&P 500®, which also had the worst quarter since 2008, lost 20%.

No economic sector was spared in the rapid downturn, as companies in important industries like energy, mining, and financials were hit hard. The average stock price drop for members of the S&P Latin America 40 was around -45% for the quarter. The Energy sector of the S&P Latin America BMI performed the worst among the 11 GICS sectors (-61%). Health Care had a difficult quarter (-45%), but thanks to its strong past performance, it lost a lot less for the mid-term periods. Looking at individual markets in local currency terms, Argentina’s S&P MERVAL Index lost 41.5% for the quarter. Brazil and Colombia followed, returning -36% and -32%, respectively, as measured by the S&P Brazil BMI and the S&P Colombia Select Index.

In a sea of red for the quarter, in Mexico some indices were able to stay in the black. The S&P/BMV IPC Inverse Daily Index, which seeks to track the inverse performance (reset daily) of the S&P/BMV IPC, gained 23%. The following three indices also did well: the S&P/BMV MXN-USD (26%), the S&P/BMV China SX20 Index (9.4%), and the S&P/BMV Ingenius Index (9.4%). The latter two indices are designed to measure international stocks trading on the Mexican Stock Exchange, and their strong performance is largely driven by the depreciation of nearly 20% of the Mexican peso relative to the U.S. dollar in Q1.

The first quarter is done, and the second quarter is looking gloomy. Comprehensive relief efforts are underway to help citizens and support our economies, and we can only hope for the best while we continue to tread carefully.

S&P Latin America Equity Indices Quantitative Analysis Q2 2020

S&P Latin America Equity Indices Commentary: Q2 2020

We have made it through the first half of 2020. Despite the continued spread of COVID-19 wreaking havoc on public health and the global economy, the markets did surprisingly well during Q2. In the U.S., the equity market rebounded from Q1, driven by government stimulus packages and the easing of restrictions imposed during the pandemic. The S&P 500® gained 20.5%, while the S&P Latin America 40, which is designed to measure the 40 largest, most liquid companies in the region, followed close behind, gaining 19.5%. However, Latin America was still deep in the red YTD, down 35.9%.

Among S&P Latin America BMI sectors, Information Technology (63.2%), Consumer Discretionary (47.6%), and Energy (41.2%) were the best performers for the quarter. In this new era of working, shopping, and recreation from home, online-based companies like Brazil’s PagSeguro Digital and StoneCo Ltd, which help businesses manage their e-commerce services, seem to be booming in emerging markets, as shown by their price appreciation. It will be interesting to see how industries quickly adapt to the “new normal” and not only survive, but also thrive.

In terms of countries, Argentina led the pack with the S&P MERVAL Index gaining 58.7% in local currency for the quarter. Brazil came in second, with a return of 31.2% as reflected by the S&P Brazil BMI. Peru’s S&P/BVL Peru General Index returned 16.7%. Chile’s S&P IPSA also had a strong quarter, with a gain of 13.5%. Colombia barely stayed afloat, with a lower return of 1.4% for the S&P Colombia BMI. Year-to-date, the countries’ returns were still in the red, with Colombia the worst and Argentina at the top with single-digit negative returns. There is still a lot of work ahead before the region stabilizes. Pre-pandemic, there were already significant domestic troubles: social unrest in Chile, economic woes in Argentina, and political instability in Brazil, among other issues. Added to this mix, the pandemic of the century and the economic damage it is leaving behind will likely make for a tough recovery.

Despite the strong quarterly returns, many economists1 (not surprisingly) are predicting an uphill battle for the region. As the COVID-19 pandemic spreads and conditions worsen in several countries, S&P Global Ratings economists are reducing the 2020 GDP growth forecast to a contraction of roughly 7.5%. Growth for 2021 is expected to be around 4% and economic recoveries are expected to be slower than originally predicted. To put it in context, GDP for the U.S. is forecast to grow 4.8% for 2021.2 S&P Global Ratings expectations are that economies that implemented strong policy support, such as Chile and Peru, may have “smaller permanent GDP losses.” It adds that the story may be different in countries like Mexico and Brazil, where support has been more limited.

Processing ...