Entering text into the input field will update the search result below

How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love The Vol

Mar. 05, 2018 4:31 PM ETDGS
WisdomTree profile picture

By Joseph Tenaglia

Following one of the most tranquil years in stock market history, volatility came roaring back in late January and early February.

Many investors were calling for the inevitable return of volatility in 2018, ourselves included. That said, few foresaw how quickly and how violently that prediction would come to fruition. While there was some debate as to what exactly prompted the pickup in volatility (with everything from inflation to inverse volatility exchange-traded products to the all-encompassing "quants" being blamed), the bottom line is that the spike in the Volatility Index (VIX) left equity investors running for cover.

One thing we found interesting was that during the height of the correction, the MSCI Emerging Markets Index outperformed the S&P 500 by almost 150 basis points (bps) on the downside, with other emerging market (EM) strategies holding up even better.1 Given that the EM asset class historically has had a standard deviation about 50% higher than that of the S&P, EM investors who may have expected the performance of EM to be worse than that of the U.S. were likely pleasantly surprised.

Valuation's Impact on Beta

The EM outperformance brings to mind a concept that Jeremy Grantham has written about: beta is a critical component of explaining relative performance, but valuation can influence beta. Assets that are more expensive relative to their history may experience volatility above their expected levels (and vice versa). When an asset's price outruns its fundamentals, a downturn in the market can be disproportionally negative when the music stops.

This is the exact same idea that underpins WisdomTree's original investment philosophy and why we focus on fundamentals. Regarding those fundamentals, within EM we remain encouraged by corporate earnings and believe that the attractive valuation currently offered by the asset class is being underappreciated. As

This article was written by

WisdomTree profile picture
In 2006, WisdomTree launched with a big idea and an impressive mission — to create a better way to invest. We believed investors shouldn’t have to choose between cost efficiency and performance potential, so we developed the first family of ETFs designed to deliver both. Today, WisdomTree offers a leading product range that offers access to an unparalleled selection of unique and smart exposures.

Recommended For You


Disagree with this article? Submit your own. To report a factual error in this article, . Your feedback matters to us!

Related Stocks

SymbolLast Price% Chg
WisdomTree Emerging Markets SmallCap Dividend Fund ETF

Related Analysis

To ensure this doesn’t happen in the future, please enable Javascript and cookies in your browser.
Is this happening to you frequently? Please report it on our feedback forum.
If you have an ad-blocker enabled you may be blocked from proceeding. Please disable your ad-blocker and refresh.