Value stocks to rally most on Covid-19 vaccine availability, Goldman Sachs says

Chances of a vaccine by Q1 of 2021 jumped to 70% between August 22 to September 8 when values shares outperformed cyclical stocks

Goldman Sachs says value shares are a better way to bet on a Covid-19 vaccine than cyclical stocks. Reuters 
Goldman Sachs says value shares are a better way to bet on a Covid-19 vaccine than cyclical stocks. Reuters 

Value shares are a better way to bet on a Covid-19 vaccine than cyclical stocks, even though the latter have gained favour for capturing the trade, according to Goldman Sachs.

Value shares beat their growth counterparts by more than 3 percentage points over the August 22 to September 8 period, when the chances of a vaccine available by the first quarter of 2021 jumped to about 70 per cent from around 40 per cent, Goldman strategists wrote in a note. Cyclical shares underperformed defensive ones, they said.

Value stocks tend to have short-duration cash flows, so will outperform as rates rise, while cyclical and defensive stocks have similar duration on average, Goldman said, to explain the lack of correlation with vaccine odds.

“The consensus view of investors is cyclicals will outperform when a vaccine is identified,” the strategists wrote. “However, the correlation of returns with the prospects for a vaccine suggest value rather than cyclicals is the better tactical expression of this view.”

Value stocks have underperformed growth for years, with the Russell 1000 Value Index up about 7 per cent since the end of 2016 while the growth gauge has doubled. Many a strategist called for a reversal in recent months, and while multiple moves in that direction failed to generate much momentum, this month may be different as tech high-fliers suffer a pullback.

Food, beverage and tobacco is the sector that has the highest correlation with vaccine odds, Goldman said. Technology, hardware and equipment, semiconductors and retailing are the most negatively correlated with vaccine optimism. Some traditionally cyclical industries like materials and capital goods are among the most correlated.

Vaccine catalysts may coincide with the upcoming US election, which may also provide a tailwind to value in the near term, the strategists said.

Published: September 21, 2020 11:37 AM

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