Journal of Finance and Investment Analysis

Fundamentals-weighting vs. Capitalization-weighting: An Empirical Comparison

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  • Abstract

    Following the criticism surrounding capitalization-weighting, both academic and practitioner communities have developed alternative approaches to portfolio construction. We analyze one of these approaches, fundamentals-based weighting, which identifies the weights of portfolio constituents on the basis of their market multiples and accounting ratios. Our analysis is carried out on four fundamentals-weighted portfolios (FW) based on four different weighting variants, the capitalization-weighted portfolio (CW), and the equally-weighted (EW) portfolio, from January 2004 to December 2020, and in two subperiods (20042011 and 20112020). We find that in the first subperiod, the EW portfolio shows the highest risk-adjusted performance, followed by the FW portfolios. In contrast, in the second subperiod and in the period as a whole, the CW portfolio outperforms the other portfolios in terms of risk-adjusted performance. Overall, we conclude that both FW portfolios and the EW portfolio do not exhibit superior results when compared with the classic CW portfolio. Therefore, we have shown that FW and EW techniques provide superior risk-adjusted performance only during a period of exceptional financial turmoil. However, under normal conditions, they cannot be recommended as a rational investment strategy.

    JEL classification numbers: G11, G14.

    Keywords: Fundamental weighting, Capitalization weighting, Equal weighting, Value investing, Indexed investing.