"Growth and value investing are joined at the hip."
You think that's crazy? Tell Warren Buffett. He's the one who said it, not me.
But, of course, I think he's right. I'm writing today because the largely semantic differences between value and growth often get lost, even here at The Fool.
Head to head
That's because there is a temptation to equate growth investing with speculation, as fellow Fool Chuck Saletta did here.
But that's just wrong. Growth investing isn't simply seeking out companies with already "sky-high" growth expectations and blindly hoping that those companies will outperform these lofty expectations. Instead, growth investing sees value in seeking companies with superior growth characteristics that the market hasn't fully recognized. Our market-beating Rule Breakers service does this by focusing on firms that produce a superior product, are first to market, and have strong competitive advantages.
Value investors, on the other hand, look for stocks that trade for less than their intrinsic value, or stocks that the market has unfairly undervalued. Often, these firms are experiencing problems that investors believe to be temporary.
Both strategies, although seemingly different on the surface, operate on the premise that the market has mispriced a stock. And both strategies make profits when the stock becomes properly valued.
The obvious won't help you
You'll need more than math to discern what, exactly, is mispriced. Take the market's 10 best stocks. Hansen Natural (Nasdaq: HANS ) was trading for 28 times trailing earnings 10 years ago. A value investor simply looking for stocks with P/Es below the market average would have missed the 250-bagger to come.
The very best value stocks
Stock-market myth says that only value investors zig as others zag. Hogwash. Fidelity superstar Will Danoff, a student of Peter Lynch and one of the best growth investors around, has been buying shares of Google (Nasdaq: GOOG ) , Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL ) , and Marvell Technology (Nasdaq: MRVL ) , none of which look "cheap" by the numbers.
Yet Danoff, by going beyond the numbers, has obliterated the return of the S&P 500 for more than a decade. So has Fool co-founder David Gardner. His best picks are the result of studying businesses whose capacity to rule high-growth industries leads to huge gains in cash flow. That's why NYSE Group (NYSE: NYX ) is a four-bagger for Rule Breakers subscribers. It was misunderstood. It was cheap relative to its growth potential. In short: It was a value stock.
Fortunes in the making
Don't make the mistake of confusing growth investing with speculation. You'll miss out on just about all of the market's best value stocks -- the misunderstood multibaggers in the making -- if you do.
Click here now if you'd like to join us at Rule Breakers in our quest to find the market next 10 best stocks. Your pass is free for 30 days and there's no obligation to subscribe.
Fool contributor Tim Beyers is a sucker for growth stocks and a regular contributor to David's Rule Breakers service. Tim didn't own shares in any of the companies mentioned in this story at the time of publication. Get the skinny on all of the stocks in Tim's portfolio by checking his Fool profile. Daktronics is a former Stock Advisor pick. The Motley Fool's disclosure policy is a rebel on Wall Street.