Articles for Financial Advisors

S&P Small Cap 600 vs. Russell 2000

S&P Small Cap 600 vs. Russell 2000

There is no standard definition of a small cap stock. The methodology used deciding what stocks are included in a small cap index can result in significant return differences. As of the middle of 2014, The S&P SmallCap outperformed the Russell 2000 for 12 of the last 19 years. The Russell 2000 has been tracking small caps for 30+ years; the S&P SmallCap 600 has been around for 19+ years.

S&P SmallCap 600 vs. Russell 2000

[annualized returns through May 30th, 2014]


3 Years

5 Years

S&P SmallCap 600



Russell 2000 (small caps)




Russell divides U.S. stocks between large and small stocks as of the last day in May each year. The adjusted indexes become effective after the market close on June 27th each year. The Russell 1000 is comprised of the largest 1,000 stocks; the Russell 2000 basically represents the next largest 2,000 stocks. The smallest stock in the Russell 2000 was valued at $129 million in June 2014 (considered a micro cap by some groups); the largest was worth $3.6 billion (considered a mid cap by other index groups). . As of the first quarter of 2014, > 510 companies in the Russell 2000 had no earnings or reported a loss (source: FactSet).

S&P Dow Jones Indices are determined by a committee; only stocks whose market capitalization is $350 million to $1.6 billion can be included in the S&P 600 Index. A stock can only be considered if < 50% of its shares are not available for trading. Additionally, stocks must have been profitable for the previous four quarters before being eligible for the index


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