Long Cycles and Hot Asset Classes: Large Cap Growth vs. Value Stocks

As this decade comes to an end, I find it noteworthy that Large-Cap Growth stocks have outperformed Large-Cap Value stocks during most of the the 2010s. When I first started learning about investing in the previous decade of the 2000s, much was made of how Large-Cap Value stocks historically outperformed Growth. You can see this cyclical behavior below, taken from this Morningstar article:

Similar to economic cycles, growth and value stocks have alternated leadership roles based on past performance, as shown here over the rolling three-year periods starting 1973. While value beat growth during the 2000s, the trend reversed in the 2010s as growth outperformed value and continues to post large gains year-to-date 2019. Nonetheless, it’s challenging to predict whether the growth’s premium over value will persist, given the irregularity of the cycles.

Nowadays, when I read about some factor that provides a superior long-term average return, I often wonder if its simply that a hot streak of recent outperformance has tilted it towards one side over another. What if it’s just part of a long cycle that eventually goes the other way? It was only after 2009 that long-term bonds and gold came back as desirable asset classes. Before that, it was commodities. Of course, there are all the ways that stocks are split up – US/International, Large/Small, Value/Growth, Momentum, Volatility, and so on.

From a previous post US vs. International Stocks: Historical Cycles of Outperformance:

Bottom line. Large Value stocks did great during the 2000s, but Large Growth stocks dominated the 2010s. Have some healthy skepticism regarding “hot” asset classes, as the trend may not last and indeed may turn around just as you make the switch.

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