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R.I.P. the Momentum Trade, 2012-2014



Ultimately, the more important question is how far investors will broaden their definition of what constitutes "expensive." We still have some incorrect assumptions about what value actually looks like.

If you stop a dozen investors on the street, they'd probably tell you that stocks like Proctor & Gamble (PG), 3M (MMM), Johnson & Johnson (JNJ), and Coca-Cola (KO) are more conservative "value" stocks rather than riskier "growth" stocks. But these are all trading near 20x earnings or above! These stocks are 20% to  25% more expensive than the rest of the market. Each of those have outperformed the value benchmarks too.  How much longer can this momentum keep up?

If you believe that what we're seeing in the small caps and technology is indicative of broader trends to come -- and these sectors do tend to be leading indicators -- you need to make sure that the stuff you thought was value actually is. Just because these high-quality blue-chips represented great value during the last bear market doesn't mean they do right now. They might be great investments if the economy keeps growing.

Just don't call them value.

At the time of publication the author had no position in any of the stocks mentioned.

This article represents the opinion of a contributor and not necessarily that of TheStreet or its editorial staff.

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