SP500 Index Changing Drastically

The S&P500 saw the biggest change since 1999. What might be the impacts of changes on investors? There are many of them, and in the long run, many of them are crucial.
Peter Bukov
s&p500

The beginning of October brings with it the biggest changes to the SP500 index since 1999. Some sectors and industries will most likely emerge, and some may disappear, with their respective weight in the index changing as well. Additionally, some stocks may move to other sectors. These changes may mostly affect the IT, telecommunications and consumer goods sectors.

Consequently, the weight of the information technology sector may fall from the current 25 percent to 20 percent. A new sector is likely to be created, specifically the communication services sector, which may have a weight of 10 percent in the SP500 index. This new sector will be created by moving all titles from the telecommunications industry, which previously had a weight of 2 percent in the SP500 index. After this, the telecommunication sector will probably cease to exist. In addition, several IT and consumer goods companies will most likely be transferred to this new communications services sector.

Among the stock titles that should complete the emerging communications services industry by moving from the IT sector are Alphabet (Google), the dominant social networking player Facebook, as well as EA, Activision and Take-Two Interactive games. Verizon and AT&T will most likely move from the telecommunications sector. From the consumer discretionary sector, Netflix, Disney, 21st Century Fox, and a number of more companies may join the new communications sector in the near future.

What might be the impacts of changes on investors? There are many of them, and in the long run, many of them are crucial. They relate, for example, to the nature of the sectors, including impacts on growth outlooks, dividend yield, exposure to the cloud or AI trends, automatic or forced the rebalancing of portfolios of hundreds of ETF funds and other aspects.

These changes may have a major impact on the IT sector, which has grown to a quarter of its weight in the SP500 index and, has begun to dominate the index. The two major companies which might be affected by this are Facebook and Alphabet, the two main growth drivers with a very high market capitalization. The ‘new’ technology sector may, therefore, have lower expected future revenue growth, earnings per share and a lower margin than the current or future new communications services sector. The largest companies in the technology sector after this change will probably be Apple (19 percent) and Microsoft (16 percent), followed by Intel (5 percent). These are companies with lower valuations, measured for example by the P/E or P/S multiples, and which also have a lower regulatory risk. On the other hand, these companies have a significantly lower growth outlook and weaker exposure to growing cloud services and artificial intelligence. The nature of the IT sector is changing significantly, so investors focusing on growth titles may be able to assess current changes by rebalancing out their portfolios.

On the contrary, new money can be moved to the newly emerging communications sector. This will probably provide an appealing vision of future growth, as Alphabet, Facebook and Netflix will most likely move here. However, this growth dynamics should be moderated by the AT&T and Verizon telecoms companies, which are growing in the same way as the whole economy (for example, they are defensive stocks). In return, they may provide higher revenue stability and higher dividend yields.

Analysis and opinions provided herein are intended solely for informational and educational purposes and don’t represent a recommendation or an investment advice by TeleTrade. Indiscriminate reliance on illustrative or informational materials may lead to losses.

This article was written by Peter Bukov, one of TeleTrade’s leading analysts. 

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