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(Story updated to note that Sterne Agee downgraded Dell shares to "underperform" from "neutral" due to its share-price run-up and competitive pressures.)
TheStreet) -- It's a topsy-turvy time for value- and growth-oriented investors.
Stocks in the
S&P 500 Value Index have gained almost 23% this year, while the
S&P 500 Growth Index has lost a startling 6% this year. The primary benchmark index, the
S&P 500, is up 7.5% this year.
Over the past year, value stocks -- which are seen as inexpensive based on fundamental measures such as cash flow or price-to-earnings ratios -- and growth stocks -- which have above-average revenue or profit growth -- had moved in tandem, putting in a losing performance in the low single digits. Investors eschewed all kinds of risks.
But this year, the financial sector, which now has most of its members in the S&P 500 Value Index, is pulling up the whole value category. Financials, which have been soundly thumped over the past three years, hence their relative cheapness, are up 11.1% this year, including 10% in the past 13 weeks. That's second only to the information-technology sector's 12% advance in 2012.
Value investors believe that bank and investment house fundamentals indicate they are undervalued and poised to rebound in anticipation of Europe successfully resolving its sovereign credit woes and because the U.S. will post faster economic growth this year, although not at the rapid pace that favors growth stocks and makes their higher price-to-earnings multiples worth the price.
10 of the top performers in the S&P 500 Value Index this year in inverse order of share-price performance: