It has been widely reported that financial markets have been volatile due to recent health-related and resultant financial developments. However, the effects have not been uniform across companies. Notably, there has been an increased dispersion in stock-price movements, meaning that the spread between the best and worst performers has grown wider.
The two exhibits1 on this page show the daily returns (price movements) for selected percentiles of the returns of members of the S&P 500 Index, one starting on 2 January 2019 and the other on 2 January 2020. That is, for each day, we show, for example, the return for the stock that is at the 95th percentile of returns that day and the stock that is at the 5th percentile of returns that day.
There are many reasons for this increased dispersion, and accounting for those reasons will presumably be a consideration in future analyses of stock-price movements during this period. For additional information on our thoughts regarding those analyses, please contact us.