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Growth Versus Value Debate

Like debating political ideologies, the growth versus value investing debate remains equally divided. Growth and value investors are just as passionate as die-hard politicians when advocating the superiority of one investment style over the other. Value investors primarily invest in stocks that are selling at a discount to the market as they believe stocks that have lower P/E ratios and higher dividend yields tend to outperform over the long-term. Growth investors, on the other hand, believe that investing in stocks that are growing faster than the overall stock market and have higher earnings growth stocks with little or low dividends are better investments.

Historically, the ideal time to buy growth stocks is when the economy is performing well. Surprisingly, select growth stocks also excel during the latter (mature) phase of a business cycle just ahead of the start of an economic recession. Although growth and value stocks tend to both decline in value during a recession, value tends to outperform growth on a relative basis as the economy enters into a recession and the stock market cycle has peaked and transitioned into an outright bear decline.

From a performance basis, growth (i.e., S&P 500 Growth Index – SGX) have decisively outperformed value (i.e., S&P 500 Value Index – SVX) over the past 3-years (16.49% vs 10.73%), 5-years (10.76% vs 6.18%), and over the past 10-years (12.7% vs 9.39%). However, growth outperformance narrowed considerably over the near-term. Over the past 1-year, SGX has marginally outperformed SVX (11.93% vs 11.39%) and on a year-to-date SGX is now underperforming SVX (22.20% vs 23.37%).

It is important to understand growth investors tend to rely heavily on capital gains or price appreciation inherent in growth stocks to generate total returns as growth stocks often pay low or nominal dividends. On the other hand, value investors tend to focus on the higher dividend yields and lower price volatilities of value stocks to offset the lower capital gains. In addition, investors need to be aware of contrasting S&P 500 sector allocations of the two investment styles and most important, the market capitalization of the largest names as they can impact the overall growth and value indexes.

As of October 31, 2019 the composition of the S&P 500 Growth Index (SGX) are as follows: Info Tech (26.9%), Healthcare (16.8), Communications Services (14.3), Consumer Discretionary (12.4), Industrials (8.5), Consumer Staples (5.6), Financials (5.5), Real Estate (3.4), Energy (2.6), Materials (2.2) , and Utilities (2.0). The top 10 largest components of SGX by market capitalization are: MSFT, AMZN, FB, GOOG, GOOGL, V, VZ, MA, MRK, and PFE.

The composition of the S&P 500 Value Index (SVX) as of Oct 31, 2019 are as follows: Financials (21.5%), Info Tech (17%), Healthcare (10.8%), Industrials (10.1), Consumer Staples (9.5), Consumer Discretionary (7.3), Energy (6.3), Communication Services (6.0), Utilities (5.2), Materials (3.3), and Real Estate (2.9). The top 10 market-cap stocks in SVX are: AAPL, JPM, T, BAC, UNH, CVX, BRK.B, WMT, and C.

The largest discrepancies between the two investment styles is the different sector allocations of several key S&P 500 sectors including the Technology, Financial, Communication Services, and Healthcare. It is interesting, AAPL, an Info Tech sector component, is the largest market-cap weighted name within the SVX Index.

Technically speaking, it appears that the S&P 500 Value Index is emerging to take on a leadership role, at lease from a near-to-medium term perspective. SVX Index has recently broken out to all-time highs and in the process have confirmed a large 2-year head and shoulders bottom pattern. The recent breakout above 1,192.19-1,195.51 renders targets to 1,317, near-term and then 1,454, intermediate-term. Key initial support rises to 1,181-1,195.5 coinciding with its recent breakout and the 50-day ma. Secondary support also moves up to 1,126-1,140 corresponding to the 200-day ma and the Oct 2019 lows. The SVX/SPX relative strength trend is also emerging from a large cup and handle pattern signaling a near-to-medium term outperformance cycle. The MACD price momentum trend has also completed a 2-year breakout.

Although SGX Index is nearing all-time highs it still lags SVX Index as it needs to clear above 1,860.05 to confirm record highs. A breakout above this 1,860.05 can lead to a rally toward the top of its 2-year broadening top/bottom and head/shoulders bottom at 1,894. A breakout here confirms a major technical breakout and the start of the next sustainable rally to 1,989 (near-term), 2,048 (medium-term), and then 2,277 (intermediate-term). Notice the relative strength has peaked in late-Aug 2019, suggesting a weakening trend or a corrective phase. These dynamics may change when the relative strength bottoms near its late-2018 levels and when SGX confirms a major breakout above the top of a major 2-year resistance level a t 1,894. MACD price momentum indicator breakout above its 2018/2019 highs is still needed to also reaffirm its price breakouts. Key initial support rises to 1,816 or its 50-day ma. Secondary support is also available near 1,768 or its 200-day ma. Intermediate-term support remains near 1,731-1,740 corresponding to its Aug and Oct 2019 lows.


Attached below are the S&P 500 Growth Index (SGX) and the S&P 500 Value Index (SVX). Can SVX finally sustain its relative outperformance over SGX into the end of the year and beyond?


Source: Courtesy of StockCharts.com


Source: Courtesy of StockCharts.com

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