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Point of View · 06.25.24

June S&P 500 Index Rebalance: Technology Gains as AI Continues to Dominate

The S&P 500 quarterly rebalance added Crowdstrike, a cybersecurity firm with technology backed by artificial intelligence, underscoring the continued dominance of artificial intelligence.

  • Index Equity
  • Equity Insights
  • Portfolio Construction
Format
Article
Executive Summary

Key Points

What it is

We analyze the impact of company additions and other weighting changes from the S&P 500’s quarterly rebalance in June.

Why it matters

Quarterly changes in indexes over time can impact the composition and performance.

Where it's going

Technology and artificial intelligence in particular continue their dominance with the addition of Crowdstrike, a cybersecurity firm with a market cap of $86 billion.

Every quarter, S&P-Dow Jones rebalances its flagship market-capitalization index series, including the S&P 500 Index. Changes to the index related to the rebalance may appear small but they drive significant trade volumes in the market from the announcement date (June 7 by S&P-Dow Jones) and leading up to the effective date of the changes, which is the market close on June 21. According to S&P estimates, about $11 trillion in assets track the flagship S&P 500, with a large portion of that in passive assets. All investors should be aware of these changes but they are particularly important for index managers, who are tasked with tracking indexes with a high level of precision.

 

Rebalance periods at Northern Trust Asset Management, one of the world’s leading managers of index assets1, demand a significant amount of collaboration across our investment team. This is especially true in the second quarter, with multiple major index rebalances happening within a few weeks of each other, including from FTSE Russell and MSCI. For all our index portfolios benchmarked to the S&P indexes, we must carefully manage the rebalances to help achieve our primary objective of matching the risk and return characteristics of the benchmark.

 

 

Key Changes: Crowdstrike and KKR Added

 

This quarter’s index rebalance was notable for the addition of Crowdstrike (see Exhibit 1), a cybersecurity firm, with a weighting of 0.19% in the index. This underscored the continued dominance of companies related to artificial intelligence (Crowdstrike’s security is backed by artificial intelligence) and reinforced the ongoing trend of S&P-Dow Jones adding companies directly to their large cap index, which also happened in three of the previous four quarterly rebalances. The S&P 500 continues hitting new highs with technology and AI-related companies leading the way.

 

The second significant addition was investment firm KKR, with a weighting of 0.16%. Both Crowdstrike and KKR are large names, with benchmark market caps of $86 billion and $73 billion, respectively. These are well above the $33 billion median market cap of the S&P 500.

 

Overall, the total trade size for this second quarter rebalance was much larger than in the first quarter and one of the largest in the last several years.

EXHIBIT 1: Large New Additions

 

The addition of security software company Crowdstrike and investment firm KKR are large names, with market caps of $86 billion and $73 billion, respectively, represents a recent trend of large direct additions to the index.

chart compares return based on companies added or deleted

Source: Index data from S&P-Dow Jones as of June 7, 2024. Volume and performance data from FactSet and Bloomberg from June 7 to June 21. Relative trading volume is the daily trading volume on June 21 versus the average 60-day daily trading before June 7. Index holdings are provided for information only and should not be construed as a recommendation of any security. It is not possible to invest directly in any index. Past performance is not indicative of future results.

Sector Impact: Information Technology Leads

 

The rebalance also somewhat changed the sector composition of the index, as shown in Exhibit 2. The rise in dwarfed nearly all of the others, while healthcare dropped the most. Besides CrowdStrike, GoDaddy, a website hosting company, also boosted information technology. The removal of Illumina, a biotech company, contributed to a dip in the health care sector. Within the information technology sector, the software industry led in terms of weighting gains.

 

Exhibit 2: Information Technology Dominates Sector Changes

 

The rise in information technology’s weighting dwarfed nearly all of the others, while healthcare dropped the most with the loss of biotech company Illumina.

s&p 500 index rebalance by sectors

Source: S&P-Dow Jones, as of June 7, 2024

Performance Analysis: Adds Outperformed Deletes Since Announcement

 

As expected, we observed substantial trading during the rebalance period from June 7 to June 21. The index additions surged on the first trading date after the June 7 announcement, led by KKR returning 11.2% and CrowdStrike returning 7.3%. Both handily outperformed the deletions on that same trading day. This performance differential, or spread between the adds and deletes, carried through for the entire period from announcement to effective date, although it was relatively flat after June 10. Further, isolating the performance on just the effective date, June 21, adds underperformed the deletes, with all three additions down for the day despite an afternoon rally from CrowdStrike and KKR.

 

Excluding the adds and deletes, weighting increases and decreases in the index, which includes companies with share and float changes, differed in their performance. Over the entire period from announcement to effective date, decreases outperformed increases, resulting in a slightly negative spread over the observation period. However, on the effective date, increases outperformed the decreases, creating positive spread between stocks with up-weights versus down-weights.

EXHIBIT 3: ADDS OUTPERFORMED THE DELETES

 

Added companies easily outperformed deleted companies during the entire rebalance period, but notably deletes outperformed the adds on the final trading day. Further, companies with weighting decreases outperformed those with increases, though the gap closed significantly on the last day.

sector weights of msci world compared to msci emerging markets

Source: S&P-Dow Jones, Bloomberg, Northern Trust Asset Management.

What the Rebalance Means to Investors and Index Managers

 

The June rebalance, with large additions like Crowdstrike and KKR, requires close examination and precise implementation. This is reinforced by the fact that this rebalance is among the first to take place following the May 28 requirement by the Securities and Exchange Commission for brokers to settle transactions in one business day, down from two.

 

Given the amount of assets that track the S&P 500, trading volume increased significantly for the added and deleted companies, along with stocks with and/or changes.  

 

Attentive analysis is crucial to understand how an impending index rebalance will shape the index, and by extension, the portfolios that track it. We believe this requires a careful review of liquidity conditions, expected trade flows and optimal trade strategies. The aim for portfolio managers is to keep to a minimum while mitigating the market impact and trading costs related to rebalancing do not erode wealth over time.

15th largest index manager according to Pensions & Investments’ Special Report on the Largest Money Managers released June 12, 2023. The ranking is based on total worldwide assets under management as of December 31, 2022. Past performance is not indicative of future results.

Main Point

Information Technology Shapes S&P 500 Rebalance

The June rebalance, with large additions like Crowdstrike and KKR, requires close examination and precise implementation. Attentive analysis is crucial to understand how an impending index rebalance will shape the index, and by extension, the portfolios that track it.

Point of View

MSCI Index Rebalances: India Weighting Up, China Continues Slide

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