Historically, value stocks have outperformed growth stocks in the US, though recently that hasn’t been the case.
While disappointing periods emerge from time to time, the principle that lower relative prices lead to higher expected returns remains the same.
Data covering nearly a century backs up the notion that value stocks—those with lower relative prices—have higher expected returns. On average, they have outperformed growth stocks by 4.54% annually since 1928.
Yearly observations of premiums: value minus growth in US markets, 1928–2019
Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Investing risks include loss of principal and fluctuating value. There is no guarantee an investment strategy will be successful. Indices are not available for direct investment. Their performance does not reflect the expenses associated with the management of an actual portfolio.
In US dollars. Yearly premiums are calculated as the difference in one-year returns between the two indices described. Value minus growth: Fama/French US Value Research Index minus the Fama/French US Growth Research Index.
Fama/French US Value Research Index: Provided by Fama/French from CRSP securities data. Includes the lower 30% in price-to-book of NYSE securities (plus NYSE Amex equivalents since July 1962 and Nasdaq equivalents since 1973).
Fama/French US Growth Research Index: Provided by Fama/French from CRSP securities data. Includes the higher 30% in price-to-book of NYSE securities (plus NYSE Amex equivalents since July 1962 and Nasdaq equivalents since 1973).
Some historical context is helpful in providing perspective for growth stocks’ recent outperformance. As the graphic demonstrates, realized premiums are highly volatile. While periods of underperformance are disappointing, they are also within the range of possible outcomes.
We believe investors are best served by making decisions based on sound economic principles supported by a preponderance of evidence. Value investing is based on the premise that paying less for a set of future cash flows is associated with a higher expected return. That’s one of the most fundamental tenets of investing.
Combined with the long series of empirical data on the value premium, our research shows that value investing continues to be a reliable way for investors to increase expected returns going forward.
While there’s no way to know where stocks are going next, value has trailed growth in the past before rebounding strongly.
Value Stock: A stock trading at a low price relative to a measure of fundamental value such as book equity.
Growth Stock: A stock trading at a high price relative to a measure of fundamental value such as book equity.
Value Premium: The return difference between stocks with low relative prices (value) and stocks with high relative prices (growth).