BACK TO A WORLD OF OPPORTUNITY

International Small Cap

Underinvestment in International Small Cap

  • Investors have embraced U.S. small cap stocks for their faster growth, historically attractive risk-adjusted returns, and relatively low correlations—but have mostly ignored the large universe of international smaller-cap stocks and the further value and increased diversification they offer.

 

Diversifying International Holdings with Small Cap Would Have Boosted Returns with Only a Minor Impact on Volatility
Impact of Adding Small Cap to an International Portfolio: 15 years ended 12/31/21

World of Opportunity - Small Cap slide 1

Trailing returns (%) and standard deviation (“SD”) for the periods ended 12/31/21

  1 Yr 3 Yr SD 5 Yr SD 10 Yr SD 15 Yr SD
100% Int’l Small Cap 12.93 16.45 19.86 11.21 17.03 9.46 15.27 5.59 19.46
30% Int’l Large Cap / 70% Int’l Small Cap 11.40 15.47 18.82 10.74 16.22 8.82 14.77 5.09 18.83
50% Int’l Large Cap / 50% Int’l Small Cap 10.38 14.82 18.18 10.42 15.72 8.39 14.48 4.73 18.47
70% Int’l Large Cap / 30% Int’l Small Cap 9.35 14.16 17.59 10.10 15.27 7.95 14.25 4.36 18.15
85% Int’l Large Cap / 15% Int’l Small Cap 8.59 13.67 17.17 9.86 14.97 7.62 14.11 4.07 17.94
100% Int’l Large Cap 7.82 13.18 16.79 9.61 14.69 7.28 14.00 3.77 17.75
Russell 2000® Index 14.82 20.02 23.35 12.02 20.46 13.23 17.73 8.69 20.20
S&P 500® Index 28.71 26.07 17.17 18.47 15.26 16.55 13.02 10.66 15.30

Source: FactSet. Standard deviation is not meaningful for periods of less than three years. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.
International large cap and international small cap universes are represented by the MSCI ACWI ex USA and MSCI ACWI ex USA SC, respectively. Click here for Index definitions.

Attractive Fundamentals

  • Some consider international small cap stocks to be a “low-quality” segment of the global equity markets, and as a result, it is often perceived to be more risky; the reality is that they demonstrate better quality statistics and more attractive valuation than domestic small cap stocks.

 

International Small Cap Has Attractive Fundamental Characteristics

World of Opportunity - Attractive Fundamentals

Source: FactSet. As of December 31, 2021. International Small Cap and U.S. Small Cap are represented by the MSCI ACWI ex USA SC and Russell 2000® Indices, respectively. See back cover for Index definitions.
Return on assets (ROA) — An indicator of how profitable a company is relative to its total assets. Calculated by dividing a company’s annual earnings by its total assets
Return on equity (ROE) — The amount of net income returned as a percentage of shareholder equity
Historical earnings per share (EPS) growth — Historical growth of a company’s profit allocation to each outstanding share of common stock
Long-term forward earnings per share (EPS) growth — Growth of forecasted, or estimated, portion of a company’s profit allocation to each outstanding share of common stock
Price-to-earnings ratio (P/E ratio) — A ratio for valuing a company that measures its current share price relative to its per-share earnings
Debt-to-equity ratio (D/E ratio) — A measurement of a company’s financial leverage calculated by dividing a company’s total liabilities by its stockholders’ equity

Active Management for International Small Cap

  • As a less efficient market than international large cap, international small cap offers greater alpha potential, with a universe of stocks significantly larger with lower analyst coverage.
  • Over the last 15 years (as of 12/31/20), stocks within the MSCI ACWI ex USA SC that had positive earnings outperformed the MSCI ACWI ex USA LC Index by approximately 2.1% on an annualized basis.
  • International small cap active managers that target companies with positive earnings may benefit from the historical outperformance of these stocks.

 

International Small Cap Universe Is Covered by Few Analysts, Creating Opportunity for Active Managers

World of Opportunity - Int'l Small Cap Universe

Source: FactSet, MSCI. As of December 31, 2021. International Large Cap and International Small Cap are represented by the MSCI ACWI ex USA and MSCI ACWI ex USA SC, respectively. Click here for Index definitions. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.

International Small Cap Stocks with Positive Earnings Growth are all companies within the MSCI ACWI ex USA SC each calendar year that have increased their net earnings over the prior year. This universe of International Small Cap Stocks with Positive Earnings Growth is recalculated each calendar year.

All investments are subject to risk including possible loss of principal.

Diversification does not guarantee a profit or protect against a loss in declining markets.

Investments in international securities are subject to certain risks of overseas investing including currency fluctuations and changes in political and economic conditions, which could result in significant market fluctuations.

Investments in small capitalization companies are subject to risks such as erratic earnings patterns, competitive conditions, limited earnings history and a reliance on one or a limited number of products.

Investments in frontier emerging markets and emerging markets are subject to risks such as erratic earnings patterns, economic and political instability, changing exchange controls, limitations on repatriation of foreign capital, and changes in local governmental attitudes toward private investment, possibly leading to nationalization or confiscation of investor assets.

Market prices of investments held by the Fund may fall rapidly or unpredictably due to a variety of economic or political factors, market conditions, disasters or public health issues, or in response to events that affect particular industries or companies.

Alpha, often considered the active return on an investment, measures the performance of an investment against a market index used as a benchmark, since the benchmark is often considered to represent the market’s movement as a whole. The excess return of a fund relative to the return of a benchmark index is the fund’s alpha.

The Sharpe ratio is calculated using standard deviation and excess return to determine reward per unit of risk. The higher the Sharpe ratio, the better the portfolio’s historical risk-adjusted performance.

Standard deviation is used as a measure of an investment’s volatility. It calculates the variability of returns by comparing a mutual fund’s return in each period with the average return across all periods. The standard deviation is not available for periods of less than three years.

The Russell 2000® Index measures the performance of approximately 2,000 small-cap companies in the Russell 3000® Index, which is made up of 3,000 of the biggest U.S. stocks. The Russell 2000 serves as a benchmark for small-cap stocks in the United States.

The S&P 500® Index is a capitalization-weighted index of 500 stocks.The S&P 500® Index is designed to measure performance of the broad domestic economy through changes in the aggregate market value of 500 stocks representing all major industries.

The S&P 500® Index is proprietary data of Standard & Poor’s, a division of McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.

The MSCI USA Index is designed to measure the performance of the large and mid cap segments of the US market.

The MSCI All Country World All Cap Index (MSCI ACWI All Cap) captures large, mid, small and micro cap representation across certain Developed Markets (DM) countries and large, mid and small cap representation across certain Emerging Markets (EM) countries. The index is comprehensive, covering a significant percentage of the global equity investment opportunity set.

The MSCI All Country World Index ex USA (MSCI ACWI ex USA) is a free float-adjusted market capitalization weighted index that is designed to measure the equity market performance of developed and emerging markets.

The MSCI ACWI ex USA Small Cap Index is a free float-adjusted market capitalization weighted index that is designed to measure the small capitalization equity market performance of certain developed (excluding the U.S.) and emerging markets.

The MSCI ACWI ex USA Quality Index captures the performance of quality growth stocks across certain developed and emerging market countries by identifying stocks with high quality scores.

The MSCI ACWI ex USA Growth Index captures large and mid cap securities exhibiting overall growth style characteristics across certain developed and emerging market countries.

The MSCI ACWI ex USA Value Index captures large and mid cap securities exhibiting overall value style characteristics across certain developed and emerging market countries.

The MSCI Emerging Markets Index (MSCI EM) is a free float-adjusted market capitalization index that is designed to measure equity market performance of emerging markets.

The MSCI Frontier Markets Index (MSCI FM) captures large and mid cap representation across certain frontier market countries.

The MSCI EAFE Index (Europe, Australasia, Far East) is a free float-adjusted market capitalization index that is designed to measure the equity market performance of developed markets, excluding the U.S.& Canada.

All MSCI data is provided “as is.” The products described herein are not sponsored or endorsed and have not been reviewed or passed on by MSCI. In no event shall MSCI, its affiliates, or any MSCI data provider have any liability of any kind in connection with the MSCI data or the products described herein. Copying or redistributing the MSCI data is strictly prohibited.

Please visit msci.com for the most current list of countries represented by the MSCI indices.

Indices are unmanaged, are not available for investment and do not incur expenses.

All data referenced are from sources deemed to be reliable but cannot be guaranteed as to accuracy or completeness.

AMG Distributors, Inc., a member of FINRA/SIPC.

For the Latest on A World of Opportunity

Updates Straight to Your Inbox

Share This Page

Contact Us

800.368.4410
clientservice@amg.com

6 Min Read

Get Our Latest Posts Delivered Right To Your Inbox.

More Like This

Short-Circuiting Emotional Investing

Yacktman Portfolio Manager Adam Sues discusses timeless lessons from an early sales job that informed and inspired his early interest in value investing.

Read Blog