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Can the Market Rally Without FAANG?

Summary:
The market rally has occurred without much help from FAANG stocks (Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Netflix, and Google). Financial media, with the typical hunger for a story, asks, “Can the market rally without Apple (AAPL).” The entire FAANG group is frequently suggested as an alternative proposition. The question rests on the hoary market concept of “leadership.” In order to simplify the daily news, financial pundits create armies of bulls and bears. These require stocks that are leaders and bellwethers. This makes for interesting news, but it has little basis in fact. My research shows significant over-valuation at the top of the S&P 500. This has been exacerbated by market-weighted ETF trading. As the over-valued leaders are replaced, sometimes involving a dramatic fall, the underpriced

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The market rally has occurred without much help from FAANG stocks (Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Netflix, and Google). Financial media, with the typical hunger for a story, asks, “Can the market rally without Apple (AAPL).” The entire FAANG group is frequently suggested as an alternative proposition.

The question rests on the hoary market concept of “leadership.” In order to simplify the daily news, financial pundits create armies of bulls and bears. These require stocks that are leaders and bellwethers. This makes for interesting news, but it has little basis in fact.

My research shows significant over-valuation at the top of the S&P 500. This has been exacerbated by market-weighted ETF trading. As the over-valued leaders are replaced, sometimes involving a dramatic fall, the underpriced stocks outperform. This has been a beacon for our own stock picking. I suspect that readers will be surprised by this chart. It shows the top ten members of the S&P 500 for almost 30 years, advancing the list in five-year increments. Please consider the turnover.

Can the Market Rally Without FAANG?

I will soon reveal more results from this research, including how to avoid the over-priced “leaders.” Meanwhile, here is a question for you to consider:

If you had your pick of the leaders in 1990, which would have been the best choice?

And if you buy the index right now, you are not picking up these changes. You are buying what worked in the past.

(Thanks to Vanderbilt super-student and NewArc intern, Eric Lo, for important contributions to this post).

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