Small cap stocks are often thought of as the growth engines of strong market cycles. Investment in these companies engenders the notion of higher risk and magnified price fluctuations compared to their larger peers. As a result, these stocks tend to have streaky performance that can experience periods of strong relative gains or lagging returns.
The latter characteristic is what many would use to describe the current price action of exchange-traded funds that track small cap stocks. These passive index funds have meaningfully underperformed traditional large-cap benchmarks as price patterns meander in a sideways trend.