A late October press release from S&P Dow Jones Indices announced that Greece, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) were shifted into the classification of emerging markets. The move demoted Greece from developed market, and promoted Qatar and the UAE from frontier markets.
Among reasons cited for Greece’s shift were a subpar credit rating of B-, when inclusion per S&P DJI standards for developed markets is B++; a dramatically reduced market size; and inaccessible securities borrowing and lending.
The FTSE annual country classification review made no changes to current stock market classifications during its annual review in September, but 10 markets have been placed on the index provider’s watch list, and Ukraine was removed from that list.
The S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price indexes indicated that U.S. home prices continued their upward trend in August 2013.
The 10- and 20-city composite indexes showed 12.8 percent increases year-over-year, and 14 individual cities also reflected an accelerated annual growth rate, a press release said.
In October, the Coöperatieve Centrale Raiffeisen-Boerenleenbank B.A. (Rabobank) was issued a $165 (€122.6) million fine from the U.K. financial regulator in October for rigging the London interbank offered rate (Libor). This marks the third-highest-ever fine imposed by the U.K. regulator and the fifth fine in the Libor scandal’s history.
The Vanguard Total Stock Market Index fund surpassed Bill Gross’ Pimco Total Return fund as the world’s largest fund after five years, hitting $272.9 billion in net assets in November and replacing the Pimco Total Return fund for the first time since 2008.
Vanguard has long been the third-largest ETF issuer, second only to iShares and State Street Global Advisors.
Fidelity Investments launched on Oct. 24 the 10 U.S.-focused sector ETFs it put into registration in the summer of 2012. The Fidelity funds are cheaper than competing lineups of ETFs offered by State Street Global Advisors and Vanguard.
The new funds track MSCI indexes and cover the 10 major sectors: consumer discretionary, consumer staples, energy, financials, health care, industrials, information technology, materials, telecommunication services and utilities.
On Oct. 14, Professors Eugene Fama, Lars Peter Hansen and Robert Shiller won the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences for their analysis of the movement of asset prices. Their research over the decades is seen as having influence over the developments of investment trends such as indexing.
Fama, a University of Chicago professor, received the Nobel Prize primarily for his 1969 published research, which suggested that asset prices in the very near term are exceedingly difficult to predict.