The main purpose of this paper is to investigate the impact of the S&P 500 index committee’s decisions to change the constituent firms in the index on benchmark risk measures. The index is managed and changed discretionally by the index committee to make it as representative of the market condition as possible. In addition, the index constantly changes due to important corporate events such as bankruptcies, mergers and acquisitions, and spin-offs. We reconstruct market portfolios by retaining all discretionally deleted firms in a 3 and 5 year periods. We estimate betas at every deletion date in terms of reconstructed market portfolios; we found that these estimate betas are significantly different from the betas obtained from the constantly updated S&P 500 portfolio. We also found that such portfolios are less representative of the business cycle than the actual S&P 500 portfolio. Finally, we found that the portfolio returns obtained by retaining all discretionally deleted firms deviate significantly from the returns of the actual S&P 500 index over the studied period, October 1989 to December 2007.
Review of Quantitative Finance and Accounting – Springer Journals
Published: Jul 24, 2010
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