Email of the day (1)
Comment of the Day

June 20 2011

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Email of the day (1)

on weightings for the S&P 500 Index:
"Could you please tell me where I can see the constituents of the detailed indices within the S&P 500? By this I mean, where can I see for example, which stocks make up S5DIVF, Diversified financials within S&P 500. I do not have a Bloomberg terminal and S&P only provide an alphabetical listing."

Eoin Treacy's view Thank you for this question which may be of interest to other subscribes. The evolution of the index tracking industry over the last decade opened up a new business line for Standard and Poors as well as a number of other index providers such as FTSE. They used to provide constituent and weighting information for free but now charge for weightings information on an increasing number of indices and sectors. This allows them to profit from those who seek to track the performance of their indices, but the result is an inconvenience for those of us researching indices and sectors. However, reverse engineering weightings for the S&P and its sectors is a relatively simple process because they are market cap weighted.

Here is a spreadsheet of the S&P500 Index's constituents ranked in descending order by market cap. Here is a similar spreadsheet for the S&P500 Diversified Financials and the S&P500 Banks indices.

Prior to the credit crisis, the financial sector occupied a dominant position in the S&P500. Following the collapse of so many banks over the last four years, the only three still in the S&P500's top-20 are JP Morgan, Wells Fargo and Citigroup. However, under the heading of Financial which also includes companies such as Berkshire Hathaway, the sector still makes up 15.75% of the Index. This is behind the weighting of Consumer Non-cyclical on 21.61% and ahead of Technology on 12.57%. The USA has a large number of consumer companies that are leveraged to the evolution of the global middle class. Technology remains a promising sector because of its ability to create efficiencies and productivity gains that were not previously thought possible. While both of these sectors have been upside leaders, the financial sector remains under pressure.

The S&P500 Diversified Financials has been largely rangebound for almost two years. It has declined steadily since testing the upper side in February and is now testing the lower side between 280 and 300. It has steadied somewhat over the last week but a sustained move above 320 will be required to suggest demand is returning to dominance in this area. The S&P 500 Banks Index has a similar pattern. The KRW Regional Banks Index, most of whose constituents are not in the S&P500 has outperformed somewhat; holding a progression of higher reaction lows since March 2009.

JP Morgan and Wells Fargo share comparatively similar patterns. They both rebounded impressively from their respective bear market lows and have been ranging mostly below their pre-crisis peaks for more than 18 months. They have fallen to retest the lower sides of their ranges and will need to break their four-month progressions of lower rally highs to indicate anything other than temporary support has been found. Goldman Sachs also bounced from its early 2009 lows but has had more of a downward bias since October 2009 and has now returned to the July 2010 low where it has steadied. It needs to hold above back above $142.50 to confirm the return of demand in this area.

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