Stock Market Internals Earnings Momentum, Small/Mid/Large Caps, Growth/Value/Cyclicals, and Additional Factors
Another month, another yawning performance gap between the Cap- and Equal-Weighted S&P 500. Since the end of January, the more democratic of the two has underperformed the top-heavy version by nearly 14%. To find a nine-month span with greater relative underperformance for the Equal Weighted Index, you’d have to go all the way back to the very top of the Tech Bubble in March 2000.
Surging interest rates were the story of September, as the benchmark 10-year and 30-year yields both moved 50 basis points higher. The rate increases were felt most acutely by Utilities, as the sector ETF (XLU) fell over 13% in the twelve trading days from 9/15 to 10/2. XLRE, the Real Estate sector ETF, was squeezed as well, falling 11% during that same period.
Our latest ratio of 1.05 is awful. The improved earnings picture for the aggregated S&P 500 has not trickled down to the average firm. In this earnings vignette, where one firm gets one vote, EPS growth is still very hard to come by. That fact, and the narrowness of the 2023’s market strength are certainly linked.
The market’s preference swung back to the familiar mega-cap names in August—even as the index broke a winning streak of five consecutive months. Better in up markets and better in down markets is a tough combination to beat. Nvidia (+238%) has contributed as much to S&P 500 performance as Apple (+45%) in 2023, despite starting the year with one-fifth of AAPL’s market cap.
During the last two months, the Equal Weighted index has beaten the Cap Weighted version by 1.3%. That’s not much of a turnaround considering the 10.6% advantage for the top-heavy SPX from February to May. The seven largest firms (28% of the index weight) have contributed two-thirds of this year’s 20% gain in the S&P 500.
Our latest Up/Down ratio is 1.06. This “three-month” figure is a step back from Q4-22’s ratio of 1.19, and lands in the range of the abysmal readings from the first three quarters of 2022 (1.02-1.07). The current figure also doesn’t have the high look-back figures that 2022’s numbers had to overcome.
Apple’s 9% gain in June helped it to become the first firm to reach a $3 trillion market valuation. For perspective, the combined market cap of the S&P 400 and S&P 600 is roughly $3.5 trillion. AAPL’s weight in the S&P 500 also reached a new high of 7.72%—which means it is a bigger slice of the index than the combined weight of the Materials, Real Estate, and Utilities sectors.