Value Funds Can't Spend It Fast Enough
Some value funds are closing their doors, further illustrating that the worm has turned for value and against growth.
A Tuesday regulatory filing said the (WMCVX)Wasatch Small Cap Value fund will close to new investors. The (LRSCX)Lord Abbett Small Cap Value fund did the same on July 2. Back in May the sizzling mid-cap value (OAKLX)Oakmark Select fund shut its doors. Also on Tuesday, the (VASVX)Vanguard Selected Value fund raised its minimum investment to $25,000 from $3,000 in a bid to stem rising inflows.
Fund closings are part of a now-familiar pattern that plays out in the fund world whenever a sector or style gets the wind at its back: Funds using that style start to outperform the market, and investors flood those funds with cash. Then, prudent fund shops shutter funds burdened with a glut of money, while others stuff their product pipeline with "me-too" funds. In 1998 and 1999, growth funds and tech funds went through these paces. Now it's value's turn.The bottom line for investors: Though the reflex to sell your growth funds and jump on the value bandwagon is strong, the persistence of the value-growth cycle suggests you should always own funds in both camps, rather than following whatever's hot.
Here's WhyValue funds are essentially bargain hunters, an approach that often leads to tech-light portfolios. Their style hurt them in 1998 and 1999, when tech-laden growth peers rode the Nasdaq rocket, but it's proving its merits now. The average small-cap value fund, for instance, is up 20% over the past 12 months, compared with a 21.3% tumble for its average growth peer, according to Chicago fund-tracker Morningstar. Small- and mid-cap value funds are the best- and third-best-performing stock fund categories, respectively, over the past 12 months. Each, along with big-cap value funds, trounces growth colleagues, which are mired in red ink thanks to the tech sector's collapse.
|Value's Year |
Value funds have trounced growth funds over the past 12 months
|Source: Morningstar. Returns through July 24.|
|A Cash Geyser |
Investors are stuffing cash into value funds -- figures in billions of dollars
|Source: Financial Research Corp. Figures through June 30.|
Leaps and BoundsWhen we look at fund companies that manage $10 billion or less, many of the 10 fastest growers practice the value style. The list includes firms like Wasatch, Harris Associates, manager of the Oakmark Funds; Wallace R. Weitz, manager of the (WVALX)Weitz Value and (WPVLX)Weitz Partners Value funds; and Third Avenue, manager of the (TAVFX)Third Avenue Value fund.
|Nouveau Riche |
Some small value boutiques are flooded with money -- figures in billions of dollars
|Firm||June 30 Assets||YTD Cash Flows|
|Shay Asset Management||2.0||0.9|
|Wallace R. Weitz||7.7||1.6|
|Source: Strategic Insight.|
A trio of value funds started slimming cash flows this month
|July 31||(WMCVX)Wasatch Small Cap Value||Closed to new investors|
|July 24||(VASVX)Vanguard Selected Value||Raised investment minimum to $25,000, plans to add a redemption fee.|
|July 2||(LRSCX)Lord Abbett Small Cap Value||Closed to new investors|
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