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Just seven companies have kept the S&P 500 Index afloat this year, with Apple, Meta, Microsoft, NVIDIA, Amazon, Alphabet and Tesla driving the vast majority of gains. Stretched valuations are also a concern for some investors: While not as wide as recent history, current forward price-to-earnings ratio on the top 20 stocks in the S&P 500 Index are roughly 42% higher than the overall market.

In terms of index concentration, Apple and Microsoft stand out with weights of 7.7% and 6.8%, respectively, as of June 30 — more than double that of Alphabet, the third-largest holding, at 3.6%. This dynamic is self-reinforcing. Higher stock prices can fuel market capitalization gains and index recalculations, which in turn fuel additional inflows to these stocks as millions of investors in passive funds make their regular contributions under defined contribution plans, perpetuating the cycle.

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