Inside smallcase

smallcase in focus – Value & Momentum

smallcase in focus – Value & Momentum
Reading Time: 3 minutes

In the last edition of smallcase in focus, we had spoken to you about the underperformance seen in growth stocks, owing to which CANSLIM-esque smallcase was a laggard in 2022. This time around we will be talking about the other side of the coin – value stocks’ dominance and hence the rise in Value & Momentum smallcase. Per the name suggests, this smallcase picks value stocks which are witnessing market momentum.

Value stocks are those stocks which trade below their intrinsic value, i.e. undervalued. These stocks typically have low P/E ratios, as a result. But the question is why is this shift from growth to value stocks happening all of a sudden?  

If I had to answer that question in one word, it would be – macros. Central banks, across the globe, are increasing interest rates and pursuing a hawkish monetary policy which has nudged investors to flee from highly priced stocks towards safety. A new world order is unfolding in front of our eyes, with high interest rates and high inflation, and value stocks seem to ride with the tide. The chart below corroborates our view.  

Greatest outperformance by value stocks over growth stocks since 2000

Well, we chose to peel the onion layer and assess the performance of the Value & Momentum smallcase with a closer lens. First things first, let’s take a look at the performance of various sectors present in the smallcase since June ‘22.

Holding Period Median Returns (From 15 Jun ‘22 to 2 Jan ‘23)

You see, most of the sectors have contributed positively to the smallcase since June ‘22, with consumer staples being the rank outperformer. This was due to ITC’s stellar run-up which was the only stock in the consumer staples segment. 

On the basis of the selection criteria, few value sectors have dominated the weightage in the smallcase, take a look –

Sector weights

At this juncture, it’s opportune to delve deeper into the understanding of value sectors. Before that, it is important to mention that since this is a model smallcase, all of these sectors get self-selected into the smallcase. 

In the table attached above, few patent value sectors include – Industrials, Financials, Energy, Healthcare, Consumer Staples. These sectors are generally characterized by low volatility coupled with valuations comfort. Now, healthcare and staples (with ITC being an exception) have had a lower representation primarily because of lack of momentum in these sectors, which is one of the primary selection criteria.  

Before wrapping up, let’s quickly assess the reason for the momentum in industrials, financials, and energy sector:

  • Industrials – A huge capex boom has been undertaken by both public and private players in the value chain which is acting as a natural tailwind for industrial players. This coupled with favorable government policies and better capacity utilization, post pandemic is helping industrial companies.
  • Financials – Strong credit off-take in tandem with rapid asset quality improvement has been a deal maker for the sector. Deposit rates have also been healthy for major private players. It is expected that the banking sector will continue to ride on the tailwind of asset quality, less provisions, and strong credit offtake. 
  • Energy – Coal India has been the sole contributor to the energy sector’s performance in the smallcase. Rising power demand, surging global coal prices due to geopolitical tensions and low coal inventory levels have helped give thrust to the stock. 

All in all, with the value flavor coming back in style, Value & Momentum smallcase could be a good pick for you, if you have the risk appetite. At the end of the day, no one theme or strategy can outperform the markets forever. With ever evolving macroeconomic conditions, we (as portfolio managers) and you (as investors) need to adapt to the changes. 

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smallcase in focus – Value & Momentum