Signs of improving U.S. jobs growth sent U.S. stocks to a record high on Friday, but by the end of the day, the gains had faded, with some high-profile biotechnology and social media companies leading the downward charge.
Friday’s market performance confirms a trend I first wrote about last week: Last year’s momentum trade, which mainly benefited growth names, is reversing. In other words, we are starting to see investor sentiment shift toward value names from growth stocks.
Investors are moving out of many areas of the market that performed well last year. In particular, the Internet, social media and biotechnology industries are experiencing some notable weakness.
Why the change in sentiment? As I write in my new weekly commentary, valuations for these industries are starting to appear stretched (this is particularly true for the biotech and social media industries) with a lot of optimism discounted into the prices. In addition, investors are starting to seek better opportunities elsewhere—specifically in some of the more value-oriented areas of the market.
So what does this mean for investors going forward? In the current environment, I believe that investors should emphasize stocks, both inside and outside of the United States, that offer good relative value.
In particular, I like U.S. mega-cap stocks–particularly in the energy and non-Internet technology sectors–as well as international equities. In my opinion, many international markets offer better value than can be found in U.S. stocks. Among developed markets, I continue to like European and Japanese stocks.
Finally, it’s worth pointing out that investors’ penchant for value seems to have taken them to one of last year’s most notable losers—emerging markets. Based on BlackRock data, last week marked the first time in five months that flows into emerging markets funds were positive. As I’ve been noting for some time, emerging markets can offer compelling long-term value. You can read more about my market outlooks in my Investment Directions monthly market outlook.
Sources: Bloomberg, BlackRock Research
International investing involves risks, including risks related to foreign currency, limited liquidity, less government regulation and the possibility of substantial volatility due to adverse political, economic or other developments. These risks often are heightened for investments in emerging/ developing markets, in concentrations of single countries or smaller capital markets.
Funds that concentrate investments in a single sector will be more susceptible to factors affecting that sector and more volatile than funds that invest in many different sectors.