Growth vs Value & Your Age

Growth vs Value & Your Age

Craig Basinger, Chris Kerlow, Derek Benedet, Shane Obata

It should not be lost on investors that in 2017 the S&P 500 Growth Index outperformed the S&P 500 Value Index by 13% (+25.4% vs +12.6%). These two style indices essentially break down the S&P 500 constituents based on either having value or growth characteristics. As an example, the price-to-earnings for the Growth index is currently 21.4x while Value is a cheaper 16.3x. Price-to-book for Growth is 3.8x while Value is 1.7x. Year 2017 clearly went the way of Growth, rising 25.4% compared to the total S&P 500 index price return of 19.4%. Value rose a respectable 12.6%, but clearly trailed.

A 13% positive performance spread for Growth over Value is the highest we have since 1999. That reference should be noted by investors as it was the final year of the bull market run of the 1990s and was followed by three consecutive down years for the S&P 500. We took a look back to the early 1970s to see how the broader market faired following years that experienced a strong relative outperformance of Growth over Value (table). After 1980 and 1989, it did not bode well for equities in general. Following 1991, performance was positive in 1992, but rather subdued at 4%. Year 1998 saw growth stocks fly and that carried into a great market in 1999, but then ended poorly in 2000-02 (-10%, -13%, -23%). In 2009, growth rebounded more strongly than Value after the financial crisis, but this may be partly due to financials having a bigger weighting in the Value index and that sector continued to lag.

So what does this mean for 2018? It really comes down to whether you believe last year was similar to 1998 in which case there is more room for the market to run. Otherwise, the data certainly points to a more subdued outlook. Our Market Cycle data continues to favour a continuation of the bull market but there are more and more signs of an aging bull. Growth crushing value in 2017 is certainly another data point.

Why does Growth typically outperform late in a market cycle?

Putting the table data aside, it is intuitive for growth to outperform late in the cycle. Usually late in the cycle economic data is improving, earnings growth is surprising to the upside and this likely provides more of a lift for growth stocks over value. Conversely in most flat or falling markets value tends to hold up better, usually because they are already cheap which limits the downside.

Your Investment Style may be determined by when you were born

All of us, humans that is, like to believe we make choices and that determines our path through life. While this may be a partial truth, there are other factors beyond our control that arguably have an even bigger impact on our lives. Did we meet and become friends with a good mentor at an early age to help guide decisions? Did you luck out on where you live? As a young lad working for one of our banks brokerage firms in the mid-1990s in Vancouver, I realized if portfolio management was my desired path it would require me to pack up and head to another city. Vancouver has grown up a lot over the past few decades but back in the 1990s options were limited
(Still miss that town!).

Bringing this back to investment style, we have found some interesting data on your age as a function of your investment style. We analyzed a large sample of U.S. funds that are either classified as Growth or Value and did some internet sleuthing to determine the portfolio managers age. We used U.S. funds, as style is somewhat lost in Canada given our market composition. Most in Canada lean towards value and dividend yield while growth tends to be very small cap. The U.S. has a much more diverse market when it comes to style investing.

For portfolio managers under 50 years of age, we found the vast majority were Growth managers. Managers over 64 tended to be Growth managers as well. That left most of the Value managers in the age cohort of 50-64. This may not be as crazy as it sounds. Growth investing was the outperforming
strategy in the late 1960s until 1973 as the Nifty 50 stocks were dominating. These were the companies that appeared to be poised to take over the world thanks to technology or other advantages. You know, names like Xerox, IBM, Eastman-Kodak and Kmart. Otherwise known as the Apple, Amazon and
Facebook of the late 1960s and early 1970s. A young person entering finance during or at the end of this growth cycle would be more likely to be mentored and learn under a growth manager due to their recent success. As a result they became Growth managers for their careers. Then during the 1974 to early 1990s, Value managers were dominating (2nd chart – falling line
denotes Value outperforming Growth). Entering the workforce during this time period there was a greater chance of becoming a Value manager. More recently, the youngest cohort entered as Growth was coming back into vogue and more became Growth managers (or momentum).

Not surprising the dominant strategy when you first start to become an investor has an impact on how you will approach investing
for the long term. This is unfortunate but also understandable. Investors learning to invest in today’s environment could likely jump
to the conclusion that Growth/Momentum is the way to go. Or even that passive is the way to go. Yet this narrow view can be countered by studying investment history. Remember the market is cyclical, what works today will likely give way to other approaches in the future. The key is to remain diversified and not become married to any one style.

Richardson GMP Disclaimers:
Charts are sourced to Bloomberg unless otherwise noted.

This material is provided for general information and is not to be construed as an offer or solicitation for the sale or purchase of securities mentioned herein. Past performance may not be repeated. Every effort has been made to compile this material from reliable sources however no warranty can be made as to its accuracy or completeness. Before acting on any of the above, please seek individual financial advice based on your personal circumstances. However, neither the author nor Richardson GMP Limited makes any representation or warranty, expressed or implied, in respect thereof, or takes any responsibility for any errors or omissions which may be contained herein or accepts any liability whatsoever for any loss arising from any use or reliance on this report or its contents. Richardson GMP Limited is a member of Canadian Investor Protection Fund. Richardson is a trade-mark of James Richardson & Sons, Limited. GMP is a registered trade-mark of GMP Securities L.P. Both used under license by Richardson GMP Limited.

Redwood Asset Management Inc. Disclaimers:
Commissions, trailing commissions, management fees and expenses all may be associated with investment funds. Please read the prospectus before investing. Investment funds are not guaranteed, their values change frequently and past performance may not be repeated.
Certain statements in this document are forward-looking. Forward-looking statements (“FLS”) are statements that are predictive in nature, depend on or refer to future events or conditions, or that include words such as “may,” “will,” “should,” “could,” “expect,” “anticipate,” intend,” “plan,” “believe,” “estimate” or other similar expressions. Statements that look forward in time or include anything other than historical information are subject to risks and uncertainties, and actual results, actions or events could differ materially from those set forth in the FLS. FLS are not guarantees of future performance and are by their nature based on numerous assumptions. Although the FLS contained in this document are based upon what Redwood Asset Management Inc. believes to be reasonable assumptions, Redwood Asset Management Inc. cannot assure that actual results will be consistent with these FLS. The reader is cautioned to consider the FLS carefully and not to place undue reliance on the FLS. Unless required by applicable law, it is not undertaken, and specifically disclaimed, that there is any intention or obligation to update or revise FLS, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.

Return to Blog