Homepage / Currency / Most stockmarket returns come from a tiny fraction of shares
Thai rescue mission diver mulls legal action after Elon Musk calls him 'pedo guy' Trump claims US-Russia relations have ‘never been worse’ shortly before Putin meeting China will be watching and learning as Trump meets Putin Amazon Prime Day threatened by strikes at European warehouses over working conditions While Trump meets Putin, China is reaching out to Europe Trump-Putin summit could provide a ‘significant breakthrough’ on Syria, strategist says How cryptocurrency start-ups have raised over $12 billion this year via a much-hyped funding route For Asia's soccer teams to succeed, work starts off the field European markets seen higher ahead of earnings; Trump-Putin meeting in focus How start-ups are positioning healthy food to make 'a lot of business sense' 'Never underestimate human stupidity,' says historian whose fans include Bill Gates and Barack Obama China says its second-quarter GDP growth was 6.7%, meeting expectations Asian stocks poised for slightly softer open as markets await China data Elon Musk courts new controversy after tweeting, then deleting, an attack on a British cave explorer How a former eBay employee is inspiring kids to become tomorrow's problem solvers Here's what the DOJ needs to happen to win its appeal against AT&T The 2018 Hyundai Tucson is a good bargain crossover but skip the high-end model Trump suggests US and UK could strike a 'tremendous' trade deal after Brexit PlayVS wants to bring electronic sports gaming into high schools The unintentional winners of Prime Day: Amazon’s competitors Elon Musk insists he's neither Democrat nor Republican, as political contributions come under fire Amazon could make a big impact in health by helping people eat better Even without a GPS, here's why mobile phones are 'the best spying device you can imagine' How the Bee Gees plan to stay alive in the era of digital music Verizon, AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile say they have unlimited data plans, but here's the fine print Elon Musk has a new interest group that could be added to his list of enemies: Cabbies Uber's troubled culture persists, as sensitivity 'blind spots' raise new questions Top VC Deals: Uber and Alphabet backed Lime, Larry Page invests in personal aircraft company Tesla rolled out a new attendance policy for hourly workers this month — read it here Elon Musk: Whatever pain Tesla factory workers felt, 'I wanted mine to be worse' Facebook, Google and Twitter will testify next week at a House Judiciary hearing on content moderation In ETFs, the bigger the stock, the more money goes into it and that could be costing regular investors Ex-Labor secretary: Cash handouts 'may seem like a pipe dream' but could be 'inevitable' Cisco, networking stocks drop on a report Amazon Web Services is developing its own network devices Microsoft's president says the government needs to step up regulation of face recognition technology Facebook admits it's not adding enough minority engineers, says the problem may lie with its roots The 2018 Cadillac ATS-V is one of the best sports sedans you can buy There’s one media stock that’s outperforming Netflix Trump's SCOTUS nominee thinks ISPs have First Amendment rights, which could hurt privacy laws The bond market is sounding an alarm on the economy as 'yield curve' spread hits narrowest in 11 years on Friday India execs raise concerns about potential trade war with US Watch out, retailers. This is just how big Amazon is becoming Jefferies raises Facebook price target, sees revenue topping expectations An Amazon Prime Day for health care? Here's what experts say it could look like Can money buy success at the World Cup? Children and PTSD: Health risks linger long after acute psychological trauma ends Netflix faces major risk heading into earnings, money manager says Morgan Stanley raises its price target on red hot WWE stock by nearly 70% to Street-high Trump walks back Brexit threat: 'Whatever you do is OK with us' 4,500 tech workers, 1 mission: get Democrats elected Watch: Trump holds news conference with UK Prime Minister Theresa May after he attacked Brexit plan Goldman Sachs says cybersecurity stocks could get a boost from fears of meddling in the midterm elections AT&T's Randall Stephenson says chances of a successful DOJ appeal are 'remote': 'This changes nothing' PNC shares gain after higher commercial lending leads to better-than-expected earnings report Amazon just hit a new high, and one trader sees more to come Stocks making the biggest moves premarket: JPM, DIS, BLK, T, JNJ, MCD & more Deutsche Bank warns Netflix may miss second-quarter subscriber expectations Wells Fargo shares fall after second-quarter revenue misses estimates Trump’s dream to meet the queen makes this trip a victory, former White House aide says In this earnings season, a volatile stew of expectations London mayor says the UK is not afraid to call out Trump: ‘We think you’re wrong’ ‘Trump Baby’ balloon takes flight in central London amid protests Even May's UK opponents are backing her against Trump Theresa May had a plan in place for Brexit. Then Donald Trump landed Jack Dorsey loses 200,000 followers on Twitter after fake user purge Trump to have tea with the queen at Windsor Castle The US is trying to nail down terms with Pyongyang, while 'South Koreans aren't wasting time' Trump is likely to ask Putin for help with his North Korea problem European markets seen higher amid global trade war fears; Trump visits the UK History shows the US-UK special relationship is increasingly one-sided New tariffs threatened by the US would be more harmful to China than the first batch, says bank CEO Chinese imports fall short of expectations, while exports top estimates China says both its imports and exports with the US rose in the first half of the year Asian stocks extend gains amid relief over lack of trade escalation, tracking US rally Nvidia and Netflix produced top shareholder returns over past five years, BCG study shows Apple announces $300 million clean energy fund in China Broadcom has a new strategy after failing to buy Qualcomm: Roll up enterprise software companies Justice Department appeals Time Warner-AT&T merger approval Women in private Facebook group for cancer gene carriers found marketers could get their names How to avoid overshopping on the longest Amazon Prime Day yet Microsoft challenges Slack with a free tier for Teams Amazon, Xealth working on pilot program to deliver products to patients after hospital discharge Trump's tariffs are unlikely to cause a recession because they are leaving the most important part of the economy alone There are a lot of misconceptions about browsing the web in 'incognito' mode, researchers say How an obscure British rule — the 'chain principle' is changing Comcast's strategy for Fox and Sky Netflix just beat out HBO in Emmy nods, snapping HBO's 18-year streak John McCain blasts Trump’s NATO performance and warns that 'Putin is America’s enemy' Two Dow stocks to buy and one to fade in a volatile market Uber will let riders pay with a Venmo balance Cramer: Pizza execs say Papa John’s is ‘falling apart’ when compared with Domino’s This 23-year-old founded a company with self-driving car tech that's giving Tesla some competition NBA Commissioner Silver ‘rooting’ for Disney in the battle against Comcast for Fox L Brands tumbles after weak sales at 'broken' brand Victoria's Secret Law firms climb aboard the AI wagon A welcome upgrade to apprenticeships A Chinese music-video app is making WeChat sweat Development-impact bonds are costly, cumbersome—and good Big corporates’ quest to be hip is helping WeWork What the UK’s top politicians have said about Trump — and it's not always nice Kim Kardashian West and Warren Buffett agree that this is the best investment you can make

Currency

Most stockmarket returns come from a tiny fraction of shares

IN his book about the use of language, “The King’s English”, Kingsley Amis describes a tug-of-war. On one side are “berks”, careless and coarse, who would destroy the language by polluting it. On the other side are priggish “wankers”, who would destroy it by sterilisation.

  • What does it mean to be Métis?

  • Retail sales, producer prices, wages and exchange rates

  • Foreign reserves

  • Why tipping in America is up for debate

  • America’s trade spats are rattling markets

  • Donald Trump signs an executive order to stop family separations

The battle lines look similar in investment. The divide is not on points of grammar but on attitudes towards a handful of modish companies, known as FAANG. These stocks (Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix and Google) have been the motor of the S&P 500 (see chart). All but Apple hit record highs on June 20th. Fill your boots is the attitude of coarse stockmarket berks. FAANG makes more sense than stocks in dying industries. For the prigs, the mania for FAANG stocks is as abhorrent as a split infinitive. The high-minded investor stands apart from the herd.

In matters of grammar, the unsure often follow the sticklers. They at least have rules. But they are often too rigid. Stockmarket sticklers can similarly lead others astray. For most investors, it is often a mistake to shun individual stocks simply because other people are keen on them.

A recent paper* by Hendrik Bessembinder of Arizona State University explains why. Since 1926, most stockmarket returns in America have come from a tiny fraction of shares. Just five stocks (Apple, ExxonMobil, Microsoft, GE and IBM) accounted for a tenth of all the wealth created for shareholders between 1926 and 2016. The top 50 stocks account for two-fifths of the total. More than half the 25,000 or so stocks listed in America in the past 90 years proved to be worse investments than Treasury bills.

The sway that FAANG stocks have held recently is not out of the ordinary. A new report by analysts at Macquarie, a bank, find that the clout of leading stocks in the S&P 500 has often been higher in the past. Mr Bessembinder’s results complement the verdict of another strain of research, which says that most stock returns are made on relatively few trading days. Just as it is important not to be out of the market on those days, it is important not to omit key stocks from your portfolio.

Double or nothing

To understand why, it helps to think of investing as a game of chance. Imagine there is an equal chance that a stock will rise or fall by 50% each year. A $100 stock that goes up 50% in year one would be worth $150; if it falls by 50% in year two, it is worth $75, less than when the game started. In contrast, a lucky stock that rises by 50% in two successive rounds is worth $225. After many rounds, most stocks lose money. But a few stocks make a lot of it.

It would be foolish, though, to take this as cue to invest solely in FAANG. There is no guarantee that today’s winners will still be winners tomorrow. Sticklers will rightly point out that if you overpay for a stream of earnings, however good the company is, you cannot hope to make money from investing. Are modish stocks a trap, then? It might seem so. The “Nifty Fifty”, a group of popular (and thus expensive) stocks in the late 1960s, fell hardest in the bear market of the 1970s. Then again, many of them—GE, IBM, Johnson & Johnson, Coca Cola and so on—are also on Mr Bessembinder’s list of the 50 biggest wealth creators. To have bought and sold them at the right moments required deft timing.

Wise investors who do not know how to pick tomorrow’s winners, or how to time markets, opt to hold a broad index of stocks passively. Even this approach has drawbacks. Bull markets tend to narrow, says Robert Buckland, of Citigroup, because of rising pressure on fund managers to buy the recent winners. “A bubble is what I get fired for not owning,” one told Mr Buckland. The stockmarket index thus tilts ever more heavily towards a few shares. And these may not turn out to be the big winners in the long term.

The best defence is to diversify broadly across markets and assets as well as stocks. That includes bonds and cash, of course. Another way to offset a concentration of a certain kind of stock is to invest in equity markets outside America. The euro zone’s indices, for instance, have a far lower weight in technology companies. You won’t avoid a crash in modish stocks, should one occur. But at least you will be able to survive it.

Such a middle-of-the-road approach might appear to lack personality. It is more distinctive to be a stickler for convention or a flouter of it. Yet it is the right approach—and it works for language, too. English survives and prospers because most of its users are neither style sticklers nor utterly slapdash.

Source: economist
Most stockmarket returns come from a tiny fraction of shares

Comments are closed.