With fits and starts, investors are inching away from the market's strongest-performing areas of the past decade: that's growth stocks generally and tech in particular, suggests Jack Bowers, mutual fund expert and editor of Fidelity Monitor & Insight.
In turn, less richly valued stocks including mid-caps and especially small-caps, are attracting greater investor interest. This list includes economically sensitive cyclicals, energy, banks and consumer stocks - areas all hit hard during this year's selloff as Covid-19 arrived.
Nascent signs of this rotation have been evident since the end of the third quarter. But as our model portfolios continued to perform well, we wanted to see further evidence that this rotation would have some legs; we didn't want to be whipsawed.
Now we're convinced that long scorned sectors have room to run. Apart from their attractive valuations, other positives include:
1. Stock gauges fully recovering from the first-quarter selloff; in response, we've been upgrading a variety of funds that are best positioned to benefit from this rotation.
2. Despite soaring Covid infections and rising first-time claims for unemployment, certain "safe harbor" asset classes like gold have been selling off in favor of risk assets such as stocks and even high yield bonds;
3. Investors are now moving to stocks that stand to benefit from recovering economies both at home and abroad, fueled by the promise of a Covid-19 vaccine(s) to start rolling out soon.
One fund that remains a recommendation in our model portfolio is Fidelity Low-Priced Stock (FLPSX). Joel Tillinghast is a legendary manager; he's run Low Priced Stock since its 1989 inception.
He and his team target small- and mid-cap stocks (though it also holds plenty of large caps) with sustainable cash flows and low P/Es relative to its Russell 2000 benchmark (which it doesn't closely resemble!).
For example, with roughly 40% of its assets outside the U.S., Fidelity Low-Priced Stock is best described as a global value fund. (At 12% of assets, Japan is its largest foreign stake.)
Diversified in all ways imaginable, we like the fund primarily for its pursuit of all things inexpensive, with solid business chops and sound fundamentals. Oh, and income investors will appreciate its 2.1% dividend yield.