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As the

Dow Jones Industrial Average

roared its way back above the 10,000 mark with a two-day, 819-point gain Wednesday and Thursday, long-suffering value mutual funds had a rare moment in the sun. Many boasted double-digit gains from the rally.

(SEQUX) - Get Report

Sequoia fund, a once-stellar performer that has recently been dragged down by its heavy concentration in

Warren Buffett's

Berkshire Hathaway

(BRK.A) - Get Report

, posted a two-day 14.3% pop.

Other fallen stars with double-digit midweek gains include the $50 billion

(AWSHX) - Get Report

Washington Mutual Investors, 10.6%;


UAM's Clipper Focus, 11.7%;

(OAKMX) - Get Report

Oakmark, 10%; and

(NBSSX) - Get Report

Neuberger Berman Focus, 10%.

Value managers buy stocks that appear cheap compared with similar stocks or based on objective indicators, like price-to-earnings ratios. But over the past two years, investors have favored pricey stocks in sectors such as technology, while cheaper stocks have languished -- leaving most value managers out of the action. Large-cap value funds, for example, are up only about 5% over the past 12 months, compared with a 35.5% rise for large-cap growth stocks, according to



Even after this week's comeback, most value funds are still down for the year -- Sequoia is off 4.2%, for example, and Washington Mutual is 3.2% in the red. Still, value stalwarts are claiming some vindication from this week's rally.

"For the past 18 months, if you were a value manager you were coming in and you were punched and beaten every day," says Michael Kassen, chief investment officer at

Neuberger Berman

(NEU) - Get Report

, a value shop.

But value managers aren't yet ready to declare victory.

"It doesn't take a lot of money to move out of these tech giants to move a


(MRK) - Get Report



(CAT) - Get Report

,'' says Richard Moroney, co-manager of the


Strong Dow 30 Value fund.

Even the deep value approach is showing signs of life. The Dogs of the Dow, a strategy of investing in the Dow's highest-dividend-paying stocks -- and therefore the biggest value plays in that index -- aren't the sick puppies they were a few days ago. The


SunAmerica Dogs of Wall Street fund was up 13.1% on Wednesday and Thursday.

Much of the boost came from the financial sector, which has been under pressure for most of this year amidst rising interest rates. Stocks such as


(C) - Get Report

, up 13.8% over the past two days, and

Freddie Mac


, up 23%, are core holdings in many value portfolios.

The question for nervous investors is whether this week's value-stock revival is simply an encore of last year's tease, when cyclicals briefly outpaced the highflying tech sector, but then fell back to earth a few weeks later.

Not surprisingly, the value stalwarts say this time the rally might have more teeth to it because it's coming ahead of first-quarter earnings reports. "The fact that it's coming now may mean that there's more of a rotation'' into cyclicals, Moroney says.

Kassen of Neuberger Berman insists that too many stocks didn't get a fair shake during the long winter of the value slump. "You look at a stock like the


Associates First


, which has a long-term quality record," he says. "It got to 49 last year and a couple of days ago it was at 16. It was way too oversold."