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The Market's Haunting Tale: Not Everything is as it Seems

Updated: Nov 3, 2023

The market has always been filled with its share of tricks and treats, and this year is no exception. As Halloween comes and goes, investors might be feeling like they're in a haunted house, with every corner concealing a new scare. A quick glance at the two pictures of the S&P 500 and the S&P 500 Equal Weighted Index reveals the market's haunting tale that not everything is as it seems.

Year-to-Date performance S&P 500 Index
S&P 500 Index YTD Performance

The Phantom of the S&P 500

The S&P 500, often considered the benchmark for U.S. stock market performance, is a market-capitalization-weighted index of the 500 largest publicly traded companies in the U.S. Its performance is dominated by the largest companies. Thus, if the tech titans and other behemoths are doing well, they can push the index higher, even if many other companies in the index aren’t performing as robustly.

YTD Performance Select Indexes
YTD Performance Select Indexes

The S&P 500 Equal Weighted Index: Unmasking the Average Stock

The S&P 500 Equal Weighted Index, on the other hand, gives the same weight to every stock in the index, regardless of its market capitalization. This means each company, whether it's a giant like Apple or a much smaller entity, has an equal influence on the index's performance. This year, a closer look reveals a chilling reality: the "average" stock is down. The performance discrepancy between the two indices shows that a few large stocks have been carrying the broader market, masking some of the underlying weaknesses.

A Cauldron of Uncertainties

Beyond these two indices, the rest of the market isn’t offering much shelter from the storm either. Everywhere you turn, there's another haunting headline - from uncertainty with the Federal Reserve’s plans, a wave of mixed earnings reports, geopolitical tensions, to the whispers of another looming government shutdown.

No Crystal Ball, But Hope for a Santa Claus Rally

Traditionally, the market has seen a year-end rally, often referred to as the "Santa Claus Rally." Given the market's historical trends, there's some hope that the market might finish up in the teens. But remember, just like in a haunted house, past performances and patterns aren’t guarantees of future results.

The Path Ahead: Beware of Jump-scares

Volatility is to be expected in the coming weeks. For the brave of heart, it could mean opportunities, but for the faint-hearted, it might mean sleepless nights. While many will be wishing for treats, preparing for tricks is wise.

In conclusion, as we navigate this season's market labyrinth, filled with its share of ghosts and ghouls, it's essential to stay informed, keep calm, and perhaps keep our fingers crossed for a jolly old elf to bring a bit of year-end cheer.

Happy Investing and Happy Halloween! 🎃📈


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Unless otherwise indicated all performance is sourced from Bloomberg.


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