How do active managers stack up against their benchmarks over short and long time periods.
After a tumultuous fourth quarter in 2018, the S&P 500® rebounded in the first half of 2019 to return 18.5%—the best performance for the first half of a year since 1997. The S&P MidCap 400® (18.0%) and the S&P SmallCap 600® (13.7%) also posted double-digit gains. For the 12-month period ending in June, the S&P 500 and the S&P Composite 1500® were up 10.4% and 9.3%, respectively. Over the same period, the S&P MidCap 400 gained a modest 1.4% while the S&P SmallCap 600 fell 4.9%. This performance divergence highlights the dominance of large-cap securities in driving the recent market performance. Cyclical sectors such as Information Technology (27.1%) and Consumer Discretionary (21.8%) led the charge in the first half of 2019, while Health Care (8.1%) and Energy (13.1%) lagged.
For the one-year period ending in June 2019, 71% of domestic equity funds underperformed the S&P Composite 1500, slightly more than the previous report’s 69%. Additionally, the majority of large-cap (70%) and multi-cap (72%) funds lagged their benchmarks. In contrast, mid-cap and small-cap active funds performed relatively better; approximately 64% of active managers in both categories beat their benchmarks for the one-year period.
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