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Weekly Market Update

Stability Tops Valuations in Market Trends

Despite valuations attractiveness, the market has not moved in favor of small-caps, World ex-US and value stocks.

5 min read
Head of North American Investment Strategy & Research

Asset allocators partake in a perennial debate on USA vs. World ex-USA, small-cap vs. large-cap and growth vs. value investing. Understanding their dynamics is crucial for making informed investment decisions that align with market trends and economic cycles. Below, we plot the relative valuation trends for small vs. large cap, World ex-USA vs. USA, and value vs. growth over the last 20 years. Each of these plots indicates a downtrend after the 2008 GFC, reflecting waning market performance and investor sentiment.

The small-cap vs. large-cap plot highlights a decline in small-cap stocks' relative valuation, suggesting investors' preference for the stability and financial strength of large-cap companies, particularly large-cap tech companies. A similar trend is observed in World ex-USA vs. USA, which can be attributed to several factors, including stronger economic fundamentals in the US and higher corporate earnings growth. Moreover, geopolitical tensions and currency fluctuations have impacted international markets more adversely, contributing to their relative underperformance. The value vs. growth pair reveals that investors were attracted towards growth stocks given the stable and low interest rate environment.

Small-caps, World ex-USA, and value stocks have been underperforming for quite some time compared to their counterparts. There is, obviously, no way to pinpoint when this changes. What this shows, though, is that despite valuation attractiveness, the market has not moved in their direction, illustrating that valuations alone do not move markets.

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