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Dumb Beta Strikes Back for U.S. Stocks Starved of Breadth

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In the war between conventional share indexes and the smart beta style that became popular in the last decade, score one for the old school.

With gains in equities confined to the biggest stocks in 2015, equity gauges that emphasize their largest members such as the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index are suddenly trouncing newer rivals that don’t make the distinction. One example is consumer shares, where size-ranked indexes are returning more than twice as much as those that strip out the market-value bias.