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Cambiar Investors Reflects on 1st Quarter 2017

Posted by WrapManager's Investment Policy Committee

May 25, 2017

The year 2016 marked the first year since the Global Financial Crisis (GFC) of 2008-09 when value investing decisively beat growth investing as a category, with value-style returns exceeding growth style returns by roughly 10 percentage points in most capitalization categories last year. Value stock indices are heavily populated by financial companies, which tend to be very sensitive to interest rate trends. Unsurprisingly, financials, bond yields, and value stocks as a category leapt forward in sync following U.S. elections, and subsequently lagged in relative performance terms when the upward momentum in bond yields topped out in early January, perhaps reassessing how much real change can be wrought.

Whether or not value stocks truly “over-performed” in late 2016 or just needed to consolidate gains remains to be seen, but the change in market conditions in the first quarter suggests at least one of these narratives is true. Right around the Trump inauguration in January, market conditions flipped, and big cap growth stocks (which had lagged in late 2016) went on a tear while value names did little. The flip back from value to growth was most pronounced in small caps (growth benchmarks up over 5%, value indices down fractionally); that said, growth issues outpaced their value counterparts by a factor of 1.5x to 2.0x in most broader indexes.

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