Over the past 12 months, growth stocks have delivered nearly five times the performance of value stocks. During the nine-year bull market growth stocks have outperformed value by about 50% as measured by the Russell Indexes.
But the tides may be turning.
According to analysis from Fidelity Investments, valuations on growth stocks are significantly higher than value stocks. The price-to-forward earnings ratio for growth stocks is over 30 while value stocks have a forward P/E under 20.
This seems to be thinking behind the most recent recommendations made by RBC Capital Markets. RBC’s equity strategy team has upgraded utility stocks on attractive valuations while downgrading more growth-oriented tech stocks.
“Major style shifts tend to happen late in or at the end of bull markets,” Lori Calvasina, RBC’s head of US equity strategy, wrote in a client note. “Earnings leadership is shifting from growth to value. Valuations look a bit stretched in growth relative to value again.”
Two Fidelity portfolio managers have also commented on this shift.
Matthew Friedman, portfolio manager of the Fidelity Value Strategies Fund, says “The US equity market looks fairly expensive, but that’s because I think growth stocks – one particular part of the market – are skewing the market’s price-to-earnings ratios higher.” Friedman is still finding good deals among high-quality value stocks. He remains focused on high-quality companies with strong competitive positions – which tend to hold up better in volatile markets.
Jeff Feingold, portfolio manager of the Fidelity Independence Fund, also believes it’s time to sell growth to buy value. Feingold says, “I’ve been trimming exposure to higher-priced, faster-growing companies and using the proceeds to buy what I think are cheaper stocks with improving fundamentals.”
While growth could continue to outperform value, these periods of outperformance tend to be cyclical according to Fidelity Investments.
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