Russell 2000 Historical Components & Changes

The table below lists the historical components of Russell 2000 index for the past six years. To examine the constituent changes more easily, export the table to Excel. If a company was part of the index during the last trading day of the year, it is marked as X. The index is maintained by FTSE Russell.

For detailed component change history since 12/31/1995, check the datasets provided by Siblis Research.

Russell 2000 Index Components (last day of a year)

Purchase a dataset that lists changes to the index on a monthly level since 12/31/1995, including a summary sheet that allows you to quickly check the historical components for any month. The dataset includes GICS Sector classifications of the companies. Full refund guaranteed if you are not completely satisfied with the data for any reason. Examine what the dataset looks like.

For key historical data of Russell 2000 companies, purchase the Russell 2000 Researcher Dataset by Siblis Research which includes quarterly earnings, revenues, outstanding shares, share prices, market caps & monthly total returns of all current and past Russell 2000 companies since 12/31/1995, including the component change history. Examine what the dataset looks like.

Russell 2000 Constituent Changes & Rebalancing

Despite the name of the index, Russell 2000 index almost never has exactly 2,000 constituents. Unlike with other major indexes (e.g. S&P 500), when a company is removed from the Russell 2000 it is not immediately replaced with another component. New companies are only added once per every quarter. This causes the total number of companies part of the index to fluctuate. During the times when new constituents have just been added, the total number can be over two thousand. But when days go by and companies are dropped because of delistings (usually caused by mergers and bankruptcies) the number keeps getting lower until the next quarterly rebalancing.

The most important rebalancing of the index happens annually at the end of June. The purpose of the reconstitution is to make sure that index accurately represents the small-cap US stock market. The market values of companies keep fluctuating and the idea is to replace companies that have lost too much of their value.

During the last trading day of each May, all eligible stocks are ranked by their market capitalization. In order for a company to be eligible it needs to be a public US company traded at NYSE, NASDAQ or ARCA and have a big enough float and cap. If a company has multiple share classes, the different share lines are reviewed independently. If a company has an additional share class that is not traded publicly, the number of these unlisted shares are typically added to the number of the outstanding shares of the primary publicly listed share class when market cap is calculated.

The ranking that a company has at the end of May determines its place on the Russell indices. However, it is important to remember that firms that are ranked between 1,001 and 3,000 will not automatically form the Russell 2000 index. Based on market cap ranking, breakpoints are formed between Russell 1000, 2000, Microcap and other index classes. If the market value of an existing index member does stay within a cumulative 5% market cap range around these new breakpoints, the member remains in its current index rather than being demoted.

As mentioned before, new components are not added to the index just during the annual main rebalancing. Since September 2004, new IPOs have been added to the index quarterly. One of the reason for this change was to make the reshuffling in June a little bit less significant.

Russell 2000 Historical Components, Changes and Rebalancing

The graph above shows the number of components that were added to and removed from the index during the annual rebalancing. Since 2004, new IPOs have been added to the index quarterly which has helped to reduce the amount of changes during the primary reconstitution of June.

Russell Index Reconstitution 2016: Additions & Removals

The main rebalancing of the year 2016 took place after the trading day closed on June 24th. At that moment, the index included 2,004 constituents. 234 companies were added (of which 52 were demoted from the Russell 1000) and 132 were deleted (of which 36 were promoted to the Russell 1000). In 2015, 179 companies were added and 190 removed during the June rebalancing. The total market cap of all index components after the 2016 reshuffling was $1.9 trillion.

Russell 2000 & FTSE Russell

Russell 2000 index tracks the performance of around 2,000 small-cap US companies. The index is a subset of Russell 3000. Like majority of the other major equity indexes worldwide, Russell 2000 is float-adjusted and market capitalization–weighted, meaning more valuable companies (public-float adjusted) have larger weight than corporations with smaller market cap.

Russell 2000 is the most commonly used benchmark for the performance of small-sized American corporations. While S&P 500 is usually considered as “the market”, Russell 2000 is even more important yardstick for evaluating the performance of funds investing into smaller companies. In January 2017, the average market cap of an index component was $2.15 billion. There are multiple exchange-traded funds following R2000, the largest being iShares’ IWM which is one of the most traded ETFs in the world.

All the Russell indices are maintained by FTSE Russell. It is fully owned by the London Stock Exchange Group (LSEG) and is more of a brand name than its own company. The main Russell indices were launched in 1984 by Frank Russell Company. The original company was acquired by Northwestern Mutual, an US life insurance company, in 1999 but Russell still continued to operate under its own name. In June 2014, LSEG acquired Frank Russell Co from Northwestern, a move to expand LSEG’s market position in US. The acquisition price was $2.7 billion. The asset management firm currently carrying the Russell name does not have anything to do with the indices anymore.

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