Bloomberg Gadfly Kaissar Refutes Conventional Wisdom on Value Investing

We’ve seen growth stocks outperform value for a decade, says Bloomberg Gadfly Nir Kaissar, so some investors are thinking it’s time for the tide to turn. He cites evidence in the form of Bloomberg data showing that investors put $5.5 billion into value ETF’s and withdrew $6.2 billion from growth ETF’s so far this year.

However, Kaissar points out, the adage that value stocks outperform during expansions and underperform during contractions just doesn’t hold up. He cites reports by the National Bureau of Economic Research which show that the U.S. economy has expanded since July 2009, yet growth has outperformed value since then. While the most recent data might follow conventional wisdom, the evidence doesn’t exist as you look further back. Kaissar identified 30 alternating periods of expansion and contraction since 1926 and, during five of them, value beat growth. However, during two expansions (including the current one), value trailed growth.

Over the same nine-decade period, value outperformed growth on average during both bull and bear markets. Kaissar says that of the 23 U.S. bull and bear markets he identified since 1926, the S&P Value Index beat the Growth Index during the bull markets but, surprisingly, also beat the Growth Index during the bear markets. Conversely, value has trailed growth during the current expansion that began in 2009.

The one thing he says investors can count on? That “when things get ‘epic-everyone-fears-the-end-of-the-world ugly’, value stocks are almost assuredly the wrong place to be,” citing their awful performance during both the Great Depression and more recently during the Great Recession. Kaissar declares, “value stocks never have and never will dance to the rhythm of business or market cycles.”