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Growth Stocks Beating Value

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Disagreement is the only thing value and growth equity investors can ever seemingly agree about. And thus far this year, it’s investors who favor high-priced momentum styled growth stocks that are winning the argument.

Since the start of the year through early September, the Guggenheim S&P 500 Pure Growth ETF (RPG) has gained 13.89% versus a gain of 11.77% for the Guggenheim S&P 500 Pure Value ETF (RPV).

RPG screens S&P 500 growth stocks based upon sales and earnings growth along with price momentum. Among RPG’s top holdings are Keurig Green Mountain, Southwest Airlines and Netflix.

“Many market participants have a clear preference for risky growth stocks,” said Feifei Li, Ph.D., and Philip Lawton, Ph.D., CFA, in a research piece titled “True Grit: The Durable Low Volatility Effect.” “Indeed, their partiality is so strong that, in addition to rejecting value stocks, they often drive the price of growth stocks to unrealistically high levels.”

The criteria RPV uses for selecting value stocks with the S&P 500 include a company’s price/book and sales/book ratios along with price/earnings ratio. Top holdings inside RPV include Alcoa, Berkshire Hathaway and WellPoint.

Like many investors with a value tilt, Li and Lawton argue that low-priced stocks, which are less volatile, outperform the more volatile high-priced stocks.

If momentum investors are indeed overpaying for prospective future growth, the stock market has yet to penalize them for that gutsy choice.