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Value Rally Forges Ahead, Despite Q3 Whiplash

Value Rally Forges Ahead, Despite Q3 Whiplash

Posted October 29, 2021 at 10:45 am
FTSE Russell

By Mark Barnes, head of investment research (Americas) and Marlies van Boven, head of investment research (EMEA)

Despite the many setbacks along the way, the global risk rotation remains firmly in play, with the Value factor leading the charge. As has long been the case, shifts in long bond yields were a major driving force behind factor winners and losers in the quarter just ended.

As shown below, following robust first-half outperformances, rallies in Value, Size and Yield cooled in Q3 in most markets (except in EM), while Quality ended flat or trailing. The Low Volatility factor outperformed in most markets, particularly amid the EM and Asia Pacific downturns.

Third-Quarter 2021 relative factor returns vs broad market indexes (local currency, %)

Third-Quarter 2021 relative factor returns vs broad market indexes (local currency, %)

But this snapshot masks the often dramatic power struggle between risk factors, led by Value, and their more defensive counterparts, led by Quality. The two time series below show the evolution of the post-lockdown risk rotation that began with the vaccine breakthroughs last November. As depicted, though the path has been rocky, Value primacy has held strong.

Value – relative returns vs broad market indexes (LC, rebased)

Value – relative returns vs broad market indexes (LC, rebased)

In contrast, despite several rebound attempts, Quality has been stuck in laggard territory across markets for most of this 10-month period and suffered a particularly sharp downdraft in September. The factor has performed particularly poorly in Asia and EM since last November.

Quality – relative returns vs broad market indexes (LC, rebased)

Quality – relative returns vs broad market indexes (LC, rebased)

The chart below highlights the month-by-month view of Q3 leadership shifts. Though equity markets broadly gained in July and August, Value lagged Quality as the Delta variant outbreak, waning pandemic-era fiscal stimulus and progressively hawkish central-bank messaging raised doubts about the pace of the global recovery and sent long bond yields tumbling to the lowest levels since mid-February. This backdrop favored technology and other reliable-growth stocks that dominate Quality over the more economically sensitive stocks that have bigger weights in Value.

But Value regained the lead globally in September amid the upward spike in long bond yields. Value outperformance was powered by renewed strength in financials (particularly banks), energy and other cyclical stocks, which held up far better than their growth-heavy peers in the broad equity market slump that month.

Monthly relative returns vs benchmark (%) – average for six regions*

Despite its long stretch of outperformance, Value trades at an historically wide discount to Quality across markets based on 12-month forward EPS estimates, suggesting headroom for further expansion. As the post-lockdown economic recovery continues to unfold, the Q3 Value/Quality rivalry offers important insights for allocation decisions in the months ahead.

Originally Posted on October 26, 2021 – Value Rally Forges Ahead, Despite Q3 Whiplash

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This material is not intended as investment advice. Interactive Advisors or portfolio managers on its marketplace may hold long or short positions in the companies mentioned through stocks, options or other securities.

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