Did Ben Graham Value Investing Work in the Recent Bull Market?
Forbes outlines one of Ben Graham’s basic value investment strategies and analyzes how it has performed from 1949 through 2012.
Even with all of the fiscal cliff and European debt drama in 2012, the Graham-based portfolio has had a particularly good year. While the S&P 500 has notched a solid 13.7% gain (all performance figures through Dec. 17), the Graham portfolio is up more than twice that, gaining 28.5%.
It’s been a few years since this study was performed and we’ve been in a raging bull market. We were curious to see how the deep value strategy performed and what stocks fit the screen.
We deploy the following value screens posed by Graham:
- Current Ratio > 2.0
- EPS growth over last 5 years > 30%
- No negative EPS over last 5 years
- P/E < 15
- P/Average EPS last 3 years < 15
- max(P/E, P/Average EPS) * P/B < 22
- Market Cap cut is 10th percentile( around 330M as of 2015/03)
Results are gross of management fee and transaction costs for illustrative purposes only. These are simulated performance results and do not reflect the returns an investor would actually achieve. All returns are total returns and include the reinvestment of distributions (e.g., dividends).
- SP500 = SP500 Total Return Index
- Graham_ew = Ben Graham value strategy, equal-weighted
- Graham_vw = Ben Graham value strategy, value-weighted
- LTR = Merrill Lynch 7-10 year Government Bond Index (prior to 6/1982, Amit Goyal Data)
Summary Value Investing Performance 2012/01 to 2014/12
2012 and 2013 were great; 2014 was painful. Overall, since the value strategy underperformed by over 2% and the strategy is “busted,” value-investing no longer works, and Graham’s ideas are outdated. This general pattern of returns is similar to live performance on many value strategies over this time period.
What Names Pass the Value Investing Screen Now? (as of 4/27/2015)
There was only 1 name that fits the criteria outlined above:
HGR US EQUITY, Hanger Inc:
- Current Ratio 3.94
- EPS growth over 5 years: 59%
- No negative EPS over last 5 years
- P/E: 14.38
- P/3 years average EPS: 13.24
- PB adjust ratio: 20.71
- Market Cap: $846MM
Note, this is NOT a stock recommendation. We are simply highlighting the output of the screen proposed by the Ben Graham system in real-time.
Note: This site provides NO information on our value investing ETFs or our momentum investing ETFs. Please refer to this site.
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Please remember that past performance is not an indicator of future results. Please read our full disclosures. The views and opinions expressed herein are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Alpha Architect, its affiliates or its employees. This material has been provided to you solely for information and educational purposes and does not constitute an offer or solicitation of an offer or any advice or recommendation to purchase any securities or other financial instruments and may not be construed as such. The factual information set forth herein has been obtained or derived from sources believed by the author and Alpha Architect to be reliable but it is not necessarily all-inclusive and is not guaranteed as to its accuracy and is not to be regarded as a representation or warranty, express or implied, as to the information’s accuracy or completeness, nor should the attached information serve as the basis of any investment decision. No part of this material may be reproduced in any form, or referred to in any other publication, without express written permission from Alpha Architect.
Definitions of common statistics used in our analysis are available here (towards the bottom)