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Navigating Megacap Surge: Active Managers Eye "Golden Period" Ahead


Dow Jones Global Titans index surges 35%, highlighting megacap dominance and opportunities for strategic active managers.

By Bill Bullington

4/4, 01:58 EDT
NVIDIA Corporation

Key Takeaway

  • Dow Jones Global Titans index surged 35% in the past year, outperforming the MSCI World Index's 21% rise, highlighting megacap dominance.
  • Select funds outperformed by focusing on US, growth, tech sectors, and overweighting stocks like Nvidia Corp. (allocation increased to 5.33%).
  • Historical patterns suggest a potential "golden period" for active managers with a shift towards value and smaller-company investing amidst broadening US rally.

Navigating Market Dynamics

In the ever-evolving landscape of global markets, the recent performance of megacap stocks has been nothing short of remarkable, with the Dow Jones Global Titans index, representing the 50 largest companies worldwide, soaring approximately 35% over the past 12 months. This surge has significantly outpaced other indices, underscoring the exceptionalism of these market behemoths. Amidst this backdrop, the MSCI World Index, with its market-cap weighting, has also seen a commendable rise of 21%, further highlighting the pivotal role of these titans in shaping market trends.

The Challenge and Opportunity for Active Managers

While the dominance of megacap stocks presents a formidable challenge for active fund managers, it also unveils a unique opportunity. Historical data from fund manager GMO reveals that a significant majority of large-cap blend managers have faced difficulties in outperforming the S&P 500 Index over the last decade. However, a closer examination by Alex Paget at Downing reveals that a select few funds have managed to surpass the Titans, primarily through a strategic emphasis on US, growth, and technology sectors, and by overweighting the largest stocks.

For instance, the MSCI World index's allocation to Nvidia Corp. stands at 3.4%, yet the average outperforming fund has increased this to 5.33%, according to Downing's research. This strategy, albeit challenging due to the inherent risks and regulatory constraints, has proven to be a viable path to outperformance in the current market environment.

A Glimpse into the Future

The current scenario, reminiscent of the late 1990s when the world's largest companies were also leading the charge, eventually paved the way for a "golden period" for active managers post-March 2000. This historical precedent suggests that while today's megacaps continue to dominate, the market's dynamics are ever-changing. The recent broadening of the US rally, with small caps keeping pace and more sectors joining the rally, indicates a shifting landscape that could potentially offer active managers, especially those inclined towards value and smaller-company investing, a renewed opportunity to demonstrate their value against both inflation and benchmarks.