Growth vs. Value: Does It Matter Anymore?

Growth versus value: For decades, it has been perhaps the most widely asked question in stock market strategy discussions. But in Forbes’ most recent Intelligent Investing Panel, two top strategists argue that the growth/value debate is no longer the critical question it once was.

Robert Froehlich, chief investment strategist for DWS Investments at Deutsche Bank, says that growth and value flat-out don’t matter anymore. Globalization, he says, has caused markets to become interdependent, which speeds up the transition from growth to value, or vice versa, Forbes’ Emily Schmitt writes. “We talk about it so much, but if you go into all value, you’ll have growth stocks within a year,” Froehlich says.

Froehlich adds that the growth/value distinction has become irrelevant only in “the last two to three years where style of investing correlations disappeared, as did capitalization correlations, and country correlations are almost gone as well. … What I am saying is that what used to be really, really important in the past is not important in the future.” What is important, he says, is the sectors you invest in. “In this new age of investing, sectors trump everything,” he says. “If you make the right sector bet, the style boxes really don’t matter. Conversely, be in value or growth in the wrong sector and you get crushed.”

Froehlich’s top sector pick right now is financials, which he thinks will have a “spectacular” 2009, Schmitt writes.

Another panelist, Greg Ghodsi, senior vice president of 360 Wealth Management at Raymond James, also thinks sector is crucial. “The factors he thinks are most important in his decisions are: the overall market itself, investment sectors and capitalization. He weighs the issue of growth, value or blend last,” writes Schmitt. One reason Ghodsi thinks growth/value isn’t the best criterion is that the distinctions are open to interpretation.

“Our process is to look at the fundamentals and then use technical indicators to guide us in and out of positions,” Ghodsi adds. “The important thing is to have a process for getting into and out of positions. The easy part is creating the process, the hard part is following it.”

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