How Much Longer Will Growth Outperform Value?

November 20, 2015

This week’s Chart of the Week examines the relative performance of growth versus value. The above chart shows the price level of the Russell 3000 Growth index relative to the Russell 3000 Value index. Growth is outperforming value when the line is in an uptrend and value is outperforming growth when the line is trending downward.

Investors may have noticed the recent outperformance of growth versus value year-to-date across small-, mid-, and large-cap. When viewed over a longer time horizon though, growth has outperformed value for almost ten years. The outperformance of growth prior to the tech bubble was much greater in magnitude; however, the current multi-year period of growth outperformance is the longest since the early 1980s.

One explanation for the current leadership of growth over value may simply be how these indices are constructed. Value indices feature a much larger allocation to the Financial and Energy sectors (representing approximately 43% of the Russell 3000 Value index as of 9/30/2015). When examining performance since the October 2007 market peak, Financials and Energy have lagged other sectors, posting cumulative returns of -20.8% and +3.1%, respectively. Areas such as Technology, Health Care, and Consumer Discretionary are among the best performing sectors since the October 2007 market peak and carry higher weightings within growth indices.

Over the long term, there will be periods when value is in favor and periods when growth is in favor. The duration of the current growth cycle calls into question how much longer growth’s outperformance will persist. Ultimately, it is extremely difficult to predict when the relative performance will shift, and yet another reminder that it is imperative to be diversified across the various size and style boxes of the U.S. equity market.

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