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Russell 2000 Swells; Investors Await Update on AMC, GameStop

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(Bloomberg) -- The total market capitalization of the Russell 2000 small-cap stock index jumped 84% over the past year amid the surging popularity of meme stocks and significant growth in the overall size of U.S.-listed companies.

The market value of the index is now $3.5 trillion, according to benchmark provider FTSE Russell. The smallest stock on the Russell 2000, Velocity Financial Inc., is worth $257 million, up 171% from the $95 million value of the smallest stock in May 2020.

The jump in the small cap companies reflected “the overall bounce back of U.S. equity markets following the Covid-19 recession in early 2020,” Catherine Yoshimoto, FTSE Russell director of product management, said in the statement.

FTSE Russell gave the update as it announced its preliminary list of companies that will join or leave its Russell 3000 Index and Russell Microcap Index.

The Russell 2000 has been in the spotlight because of high-profile members AMC Entertainment Holdings Inc. and GameStop Corp., both of which have surged in value since the beginning of the year as social media-inspired retail traders have piled in. As a result, they’re likely to be removed from the small-cap index.

FTSE Russell’s website was down on Friday evening New York time before it posted its statement later that night, as well as on Twitter Saturday morning.

The new composition of the Russell 1000 and Russell 2000 is expected to be detailed later in the month. Further updates to the lists will be posted on its website postmarket on June 11 and 18. The final changes will take effect June 28.

“This is the beginning of the process with the actual reconstitution taking place later this month,” FTSE Russell said in an emailed response to a query. When the final index list is published on June 28, the Russell Reconstitution takes effect and the newly reconstituted indexes begin to operate,” it added.

How to Tell Whether AMC and GameStop Will Make the Russell 1000

Total U.S. equity market capitalization rose 52% to $47.7 trillion as of May 2021, the firm said. Over the past year, value stocks outperformed growth with the Russell 2000 Value Index posting a total return of 79% versus 50% for the growth index.

(Adds FTSE Russell’s comment in eighth paragraph.)

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