Far be it from me to make anything like a market call, but the recent turbulence has had an interesting dynamic, one that may be an indication of the future. After being forced to swim upstream by the market's little fish for some time now, large-cap stocks are back in style.
Sure, the sell-off has afflicted virtually every area of the market. But on a relative basis, large caps have bested the little guys. Over the last four weeks, Diamonds -- the Dow-tracking ETF whose charge is led by the likes of 3M
Turnabout is fair play
These are early days, to be sure. And it may very well be that Mr. Market is simply giving us one of his famous head fakes. Still, for those of us who have anticipated that large caps would eventually shine again after many years of playing second fiddle, these are interesting times.
That's not because we're gazing starry-eyed into crystal balls. The market really does move in cycles. And even though it sometimes takes them forever to do it, investors really do eventually gravitate toward those areas of the market that seem most attractively valued.
On that front, I think the big boys have it all over the little guys. The aforementioned IBM, for example, trades at a price-to-earnings discount relative to both industry peers and the broader market, despite having generated more than $11 billion in free cash flow (FCF) in 2005. It's a similar story with Wal-Mart
So, operating from the premise that, even if this isn't the long overdue large-cap turnaround, one will eventually materialize, what's the best way for smart investors to profit? Good question. The good answer, I think, dovetails with intelligent asset-allocation strategy.
Simply put, I think most investors would be Foolishly wise to anchor their portfolios with a clutch of proven mutual funds, precisely the kind of picks that we focus on in Motley Fool Champion Funds, the Fool newsletter service that I head up. To date, our list of recommended funds (which includes ace large-cap keepers, of course) has beaten the market by more than eight percentage points, and the model portfolios we've constructed are besting their benchmarks, too.
You can click here for a free 30-day guest pass to Champion Funds and start using the model portfolios to help build an investment foundation of your own. Once that's in place, you'll be better-positioned to cherry-pick individual stocks based on your timeline, tolerance for risk, and, of course, on where the market's best bargains lie.
The Foolish bottom line
Right now, as I've suggested, those bargains appear to be the kind of blue-chip behemoths that have been relatively out of favor for so long. So if you're looking to snag some solidly Foolish stock ideas, I also recommend our blue-chip report -- 10 Monster Stocks to Anchor Your Portfolio -- which is available right now.
The report even includes a fund recommendation (written by yours truly), and taken together with Champion Funds, I think 10 Monster Stocks makes quite the investing twofer. Check 'em and see.
Shannon Zimmerman runs point on the Fool's Champion Funds newsletter service, and at the time of publication didn't own any of the securities mentioned above. 3M and Wal-Mart are Motley Fool Inside Value picks. You can check out the Fool's strict disclosure policy by clicking right here.