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Credit Suisse – Industry weightings: Their Rise And Fall

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This is a very very good yearly report put together by CS. Check it out below


2015 has begun with a series of apparent contradictions and dramatic reversals. In the developed world, both equity and bond markets are at record highs. The price of oil has collapsed and the Swiss franc has jettisoned its link with the euro. Global economic growth is tepid and disinflation has caused many central banks to further cut interest rates or, in the recent case of the European Central Bank, to take extraordinary action in the shape of its quantitative easing program. Against this volatile backdrop, we launch the 2015 Credit Suisse Global Investment Returns Yearbook and hope that the wealth of stock, bond and inflation data in the Yearbook will help to frame market developments in the light of long-term asset price trends.

The 2015 Yearbook contains data spanning 115 years of history across 26 markets and the companion publication, the Credit Suisse Global Investment Returns Sourcebook 2015 extends the scale of this resource further with detailed tables, graphs, listings, sources and references for every country. In the first two chapters of the Yearbook, Elroy Dimson, Paul Marsh and Mike Staunton from the London Business School analyze this rich dataset in order to examine an established and new way of investing.

In the first chapter, they focus on the importance of industry weightings for long-term investors. Today, in the US and UK markets, only the banks and mining industries have weightings close to their 1900 levels. Indeed, in 1900, the railway industry made up 50% of the UK market and nearly two thirds of the US market. They examine the returns from new and old industries, as well as the implications for investors of structuring portfolios along industry lines by considering questions such as whether industry diversification is more important than country diversification and whether to overweight the old economy or the new? Interestingly, they find that returns can be higher from investing in old rather than new industries.

The second Yearbook chapter examines responsible investing – a topic we developed in a 2012 Credit Suisse Research Institute report “Investing for Impact.” We believe that this is an important and growing area in the investment management field and this chapter measures several approaches to investing along social, environmental and ethical lines. It also provides evidence that corporate engagement can pay, whether the focus is on environmental and social issues or on corporate governance.

Finally, in Chapter 3, David Holland and Bryant Matthews of the CS HOLT team complement the historic data in the Yearbook with a market-implied approach. They study how the market-implied cost of capital mean reverts over time and the extent to which this is in any way predictable. They note that, at the country level, China and Switzerland currently have the lowest marketimplied discount rates, while Russia, Italy and Argentina have the highest.

We are proud to be associated with the work of Elroy Dimson, Paul Marsh, and Mike Staunton, whose book Triumph of the Optimists (Princeton University Press, 2002) has had a major influence on investment analysis. The Yearbook is one of a series of publications from the Credit Suisse Research Institute, which links the internal resources of our extensive research teams with world class external research.

Giles Keating

Head of Research and Deputy

Global CIO, Credit Suisse Private

Banking and Wealth Management

Stefano Natella

Head of Global Securities Research,

Credit Suisse Investment Banking

Credit Suisse – Industry weightings: Their Rise And Fall

This article focuses on the importance of industry weightings for long-term investors. We show how industries have risen and fallen as technology has advanced. Successive waves of new industries and companies have transformed the world, yet they have sometimes proved disappointing investments. We seek to explain how the decline of old industries, together with some investment disappointments from new ones, have somehow generated good overall returns. Finally, we examine some implications for investors. Is
industry rotation worthwhile? Should investors pay attention to building portfolios that are well diversified across industries? Is industry diversification now more important than country diversification?

Understanding the factors that drive stock returns has long been the quest of professional investors. Greater knowledge has led to an increase in investing based on factor exposures, sometimes known as smart beta. This has moved far beyond the traditional emphasis on industry and country factors or even on factors such as size, value and momentum. Hsu (2014) reports that one quantitative investor is now using an 81-factor model. Despite factor proliferation, industries remain one of the original and most important factors.

They are a key organizing concept. Investment organizations continually review industrial classifications and, where necessary, recommend revisions. Companies often seek advantage by “window dressing” their industry affiliation. Investment research is mostly structured along industry lines. When fund managers build, alter, or report on
portfolios, they refer to industry weightings. Each year, there is a wide dispersion of returns across industries, so that getting these weightings right – or wrong – has consequences. Industry membership is the most common method for grouping stocks for portfolio risk management, relative valuation and peer-group valuation. And investors wrestle with whether to focus primarily on industries or countries in asset allocation, when taking active positions, and when seeking to diversify. In research terms, however, industries are the Cinderella of factor investing. The two most comprehensive and influential books on factor investing, Antti Ilmanen’s (2011) Expected Returns and Andrew Ang’s (2014) Asset Management, have almost nothing to say about industries. This article contributes toward redressing this imbalance.

Industry weightings – The great transformation

In 1900 – the start date of our global returns database – virtually no one had driven a car, made a phone call, used electric lighting, seen a movie or heard recorded music; no one had flown in an aircraft, listened to the radio, watched TV, used a computer, sent an email or used a smartphone. There were no x-rays, body scans, DNA tests or transplants, and no one had taken an antibiotic. Many would die young because of this.

Mankind has enjoyed a wave of transformative innovation dating from the Industrial Revolution, continuing through the golden age of invention of the late 19th century, and extending into today’s information revolution. This has given rise to entire new industries – electricity and power generation, automobiles, aerospace, airlines, telecommunications, oil and gas, pharmaceuticals and biotechnology, computers, information technology, media and entertainment. Meanwhile, makers of horsedrawn carriages and wagons, canal boats, steam locomotives, candles, and matches have seen their industries decline. There have been profound changes in what is produced, how it is made, and in the way in which people live and work.

See full PDF below.

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