If you like to have fun with your investing, you may have the impression that being a value investor would be the last thing you'd want to do. But despite the reputation that value investing has built over the years, value investors are increasingly buying stocks that they would never have even considered just 10 years ago.
Getting with the times
In general, the stocks that value investors like aren't necessarily the most exciting stocks in the world. After all, the stocks that grab the most attention are those that have hit the scene hard with amazing products that produce huge sales and impressive profit growth. As momentum builds, more and more investors jump onto the stock's bandwagon. And even if a growth stock eventually falls from glory, it still often creates a lot of wealth for those who sell all or part of their position before the bottom falls out.
In contrast, value stocks have traditionally come from down-and-out industries that have little or no potential for future growth. They're often low-risk stalwarts that trade cheaply but often never see their shares go anywhere, and sometimes they turn out to be value traps in dying industries that never deliver on the recovery shareholders hope for.
What value funds are doing
But now, the tide is turning. Increasingly, professional value investors are looking to sectors they once avoided like the plague -- and they're finding some great deals.
According to The New York Times, a number of value mutual fund managers have crossed traditional lines to grab stocks in growth industries. An example is Weitz Partners Value, which is run by the man some call the Other Oracle of Omaha. The fund doubled the return of the S&P 500 in 2010 by focusing on Liberty Media, whose programming and media distribution empire is at the epicenter of huge changes in how entertainment content gets to viewers.
The value equity group at Goldman Sachs has gone even further into traditional growth territory by looking closely at the technology sector, touting the attractive valuations of data storage stock EMC
Value where you least expect it
Two factors are causing this revolution among value investors. First, companies that have matured beyond their initial growth phases now carry valuations that more closely resemble the boring stocks that value investors owned 20 years ago. Pfizer
More importantly, though, value investors are getting away from the idea that value automatically means cheap. Apple
Find true value
The phenomenon of growth stocks turning into value stocks doesn't surprise me in the slightest. Given how entire sectors of the market go in and out of favor, it's almost inevitable that what some saw as growth opportunities at one time will be the value stock of tomorrow -- and vice versa.
So if you think value investing means having to stick to boring industries without any future prospects, think again. Increasingly, professional value investors are starting to get the concept that even what would once have been seen as solely a growth stock sometimes offers a solid margin of safety and a discount to its intrinsic value. As long as those investors are doing a good job identifying attractive values, then investors shouldn't shy away from value funds simply because of the particular stocks they happen to be buying right now.
If you want good value, don't pay up for stocks that have already seen their best days. Jim Royal explains why you should avoid these 30-bagger stocks.
Fool contributor Dan Caplinger is committed to finding good value. He doesn't own shares of the companies mentioned in this article. Google and Pfizer are Motley Fool Inside Value picks. Google is a Motley Fool Rule Breakers selection. The Fool has written puts on Apple, which is a Motley Fool Stock Advisor recommendation. The Fool owns shares of Apple, Bank of America, EMC, Google, and JPMorgan Chase. Through a separate account in its Rising Stars portfolios, the Fool also has a short position on Bank of America. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Fool's disclosure policy is solid as a rock.