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Does the Value Factor work?

The historical performance of value investing has witnessed various phases of outperformance and underperformance in comparison to growth investing, reflecting the cyclical nature of these investment styles. Here's a summarised analysis based on historical data:

Long-Term Performance:

Dating back to 1926 in the US markets, value investing has yielded a return of 1,344,600%, outperforming the S&P 500 which returned 1,256,300% over the same period. This data underscores the long-term potential of value investing, even though it doesn't guarantee future performance (Baldridge, R., & Curry, B. (2022) & Webster, I. (n.d.))​.

Performance Downturn Post-2007:

Value investing experienced a significant underperformance since 2007. This downturn is noted to be a stark contrast to value's strong long-term returns, indicating a challenging phase for value investing (Weng, J., & Butler, I. (2022)).

Recent Performance Shift:

Since late 2020, there has been a shift where value started to outperform, although this change is considered relatively minor when viewed against the backdrop of value's underperformance since 2007​ (Weng, J., & Butler, I. (2022)).

Historical Leadership:

Over the last 30 years, there have been phases of value investing leading and lagging, reflecting the cyclical nature of this style and the influence of broader market and economic conditions on their performance​ (Bischof, B. (2021)).

The historical data showcases the cyclical performance trends of value investing. While value investing has shown strong returns over the long run, there have been extended periods, such as post-2007, where it lagged behind markets. These insights underline a blend of macroeconomic and market-specific factors impacting the performance and perception of value investing.

While the traditional principles of value investing remain valid, the evolving market dynamics and external factors like the pandemic have imposed challenges and necessitated a more nuanced approach to value investing. The situation in India, as noted, presents additional complexities due to the presence of "value traps" and perpetual value companies affecting the overall performance of the value factor in the Indian market. Nonetheless, the low correlation of the value factor with quality, momentum and other factors offers diversification benefits, hinting at the enduring relevance of value investing in diversified investment strategies.

This has encouraged us to look beyond the traditional measures of value and return to incorporating growth when calculating the intrinsic value of a stock as originally envisaged by Benjamin Graham and David Dodd.