A large number of stocks in the Dow Jones Industrials Average have moved lower since the Federal Reserve ended its quantitative easing (QE) program in late October. Telecom giants AT&T (T) and Verizon (VZ) have toiled. Consumer champs Procter & Gamble (PG) and Coca-Cola (KO) have struggled. Commodity-related kings like Chevron (CVX) and Caterpillar (CAT)? They’ve been obliterated.
In fact, nearly half of the 30 components (13) have lost ground since the Fed stopped acquiring billions in assets with electronically created money. One might expect the Dow to have had trouble appreciating in value with that sort of drag. However, the Dow is a price-weighted index. It follows that stocks with higher prices exert more influence on the index as a whole and, by extension, can keep bull market perceptions intact.
How might the picture look different if the components had equal weighting? It might look similar to the Elements Dogs of the Dow ETN (DOD). While DOD actually tracks the Dow Jones High Yield 10 Index – not the entire Dow 30 – each component receives the same weight upon annual selection. A chart of DOD gives one an idea of how flagship stocks might actually be faring in a post-QE environment.
Not convinced? So 13 of 30 components are falling, who cares? Then take a look at the broadest measure of stock performance in the NYSE Composite. Let’s compare it to the S&P 500 SPDR Trust (SPY), where the weighting is concentrated in some of the top market-capitalization leaders.
The S&P 500 SPDR Trust (SPY) has continued to appreciate.
Meanwhile, the entire list of common stocks that trade on the New York Stock Exchange are not exactly knocking it out of the park since the end of QE.