Give the Little Guy a Chance

by Stacy Francis, CFP®, CDFA

As in any crowd, the noisy guys get most of the attention. In the money world, large capitalization (cap) stocks are always on investors’ minds because they’re so darn big.

But a bunch of little stocks, known as the small caps, have been working away diligently in the background. In today’s investment climate, small caps can have something to offer and should be part of any diversified portfolio. Many of these smaller companies have put peddle to the metal and cut costs, boosted earnings, and benefited from lower interest rates

The addition of small cap stocks to a portfolio can help increase return over the long-term. However, you should probably keep the small-cap portion of your holdings to 10 percent to 15 percent of your overall portfolio. Over the past eight decades or so, small stocks have been roughly 60 percent more volatile on average than large stocks, according to data compiled by Ibbotson Associates. On the other hand, over very long periods of time, small-fry stocks tend to outperform the big boys by an annualized one-and-a-half to two percentage points. As with anything in investing, don’t get too greedy at the expense of taking on too much risk.

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