Is it Time to Buy Value Stocks?

After five years of underperformance 2016 has seen value stocks post greater gains than growth investments. But Richard Whitehall warns investors against chasing stock styles

Richard Whitehall 18 April, 2016 | 9:34AM
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Richard Whitehall: The first quarter 2016 was an extremely volatile one for equities and provoked a lot of discussion. But one factor which received less attention is that maybe we've seen a beginning of an investment style rotation from growth stocks to value stocks.

At a high level value stocks are shares whose price is relatively low compared to their earnings or their balance sheet. In contrast growth stocks have very high current or expected earnings growth, but whose shares are actually maybe a little bit expensive.

In the five years into 2015, growth indices had outperformed value indices by 2.6% per annum, and in every calendar year since 2011. However, in the first quarter 2016 global value actually outperformed growth by 1%. So the question is how can investors' avoid getting caught by this style rotation? The temptation is try and time when an investment style is going out or coming in to favour. But we think that’s very difficult.

Two recommendations we'd make is firstly to make sure you've got a balance in your portfolio between different styles of funds. Holding some funds maybe with more of a deep value style and some funds maybe with a growth style, this can be difficult though because it may mean holding funds that have underperformed and maybe done so because of their style.

The second recommendation would be to regularly rebalance the portfolio. What this means is you are taking profits from structures that have done well and had a style tailwind, and then taking that money and adding it to some funds and styles that have underperformed. These steps should help ensure that investors' portfolio is not imbalanced when any style rotation occurs.

The information contained within is for educational and informational purposes ONLY. It is not intended nor should it be considered an invitation or inducement to buy or sell a security or securities noted within nor should it be viewed as a communication intended to persuade or incite you to buy or sell security or securities noted within. Any commentary provided is the opinion of the author and should not be considered a personalised recommendation. The information contained within should not be a person's sole basis for making an investment decision. Please contact your financial professional before making an investment decision.

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Richard Whitehall

Richard Whitehall  is a portfolio manager for Morningstar Investment Management