US value stocks offer opportunities for bargain-hunters, BofA’s Subramanian says

By Suzanne McGee

(Reuters) – Value stocks offer some of the most compelling valuations in the U.S. equity market after badly lagging their growth-focused counterparts this year, Bank of America Global Research equity and quant strategist Savita Subramanian said on Wednesday.

‚ÄúThese companies are neglected and trading at very low multiples” at present, but offer opportunities to purchase high-quality stocks at a discount, Subramanian told attendees at Morningstar’s annual investment conference.

In a keynote speech, she said that within what she views as a generally favorable market and economic environment for stocks, large-cap value is the segment “where I have the most conviction.”

Value stocks – typically shares of companies that are comparatively inexpensive on metrics such as book value or price-to-earnings – have languished this year in a market that has been led by searing rallies in big tech names such as Nvidia. The S&P 500 value index is up around 4.5% year-to-date, compared with a more than 23.5% rise in the S&P 500 growth index.

Subramanian argues the underperformance of value stocks has made them more attractively priced compared with their growth peers. The S&P 500 growth index trades at 28.3 times forward earnings, while the S&P 500 value index has a forward P/E of 15.8, according to LSEG Datastream.

Among the sectors liked by Subramanian are energy, where she says companies have become more disciplined regarding output despite higher commodity prices.

Subrmamanian also believes the dividend payouts offered by value stocks – which are typically higher than those offered by growth stocks – will make them attractive to investors. She anticipates sizable growth in dividend payout rates over the coming decade.

(Reporting by Suzanne McGee in Providence, Rhode Island; Editing by Ira Iosebashvili and Matthew Lewis)

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