Bernstein Sees Buy Signals for Value Stocks

For the “quantitative whizzes” at Sanford Bernstein, the chasm that exists between the valuations of the cheapest and most expensive stocks around the world—which has now reached levels “rarely seen in decades of history– is a bullish omen for value stocks.” This according to a recent Bloomberg article.

“Add easier financial conditions with stronger economic sentiment in Europe and Asia, and the stage is set for a tentative rebound in the investing strategy over the next six to 12 months,” the article adds.

The article cites comments by Bernstein senior analyst Inigo Fraser-Jenkins, who wrote that the wide valuation spread “provides a support for value within the market contrasted with traditional asset classes which are mostly fully valued.”

The strategy isn’t being embraced by everyone, however, and runs counter to the widespread pursuit of safe equities “that offer solid corporate earnings late in the business cycle.” Credit Suisse analysts, for example, view the low-priced equities as potential value traps, arguing that undervalued industries like automakers and utilities are “in the grip of unusually strong disruption trends.”

But Bernstein strategists are steadfast, rebutting, “We still think that earnings growth is slowing compared to recent years and at some point, the poor quality of corporate debt will weigh on buybacks and earnings. But at the same time valuation spreads are incredibly wide and sentiment may have found a floor.”