Well, on the surface, it’s been a very solid year for the second year in a row. But under the surface, it’s been unusually volatile.
My style, specifically, is not growth or value. By definition, we are flexible core investors, so we can lean value or lean growth. And we’ve had a movement between growth and value several times throughout the year, but it’s really been nice to have a flexible strategy in 2021. The growth strategies have not done quite as well. And we think flexibility—being able to lean in toward the possibility of value outperforming for years, which we think is possible—it should be favorable to have that kind of a flexibility.
There are some issues out there that people are focused on: Evergrande, tax increases, a Fed that’s less accommodative and some high visibility earnings misses from FedEx and Nike. But we think the higher level of investor concerns now, [and] lower stock prices, sets up a very good environment. The supply-chain issues are very real, worse than I’ve ever seen. So whether it’s semiconductors, labor or materials, it’s causing a lot of issues.
Yes, I think 100% will get to the other side of it. The question is when. And one interesting thing is that some stocks of companies that are getting hurt by the supply issues are now starting to act better as investors realize that it wasn’t their fault. They’re good companies. And they’re a lot cheaper.
For me, a big consideration is the possibility that value could have started a multiyear trend where it does better. The best companies in America are not value stocks and they’re unstoppable, but they’re expensive. And if rates are rising, oil is grinding higher, it’s going to be important to at least keep an open mind that value stocks could do better. It’s helped us this year.
We have a barbell approach. We still want to own the highest-quality companies in some cases, not all cases. But I think it’s going to be important to own some of the lesser companies that look very cheap and that are particularly well suited to benefit if rates rise and commodity prices rise.
And surprisingly, if you look hard, you can sometimes find stocks that are not as well traveled in and as well owned that are reasonably priced and still doing pretty well. You might find some gems in surprising places.
The views expressed herein do not constitute research, investment advice or trade recommendations and do not necessarily represent the views of all AB portfolio-management teams. Views are subject to change over time.