Inflation Could Mean Value Stocks’ Time to Shine
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    HOUSE MEDIAN ASKING PRICES AND WEEKLY CHANGE     Sydney $1,451,814 (-0.59%)       Melbourne $954,733 (+0.50%)       Brisbane $706,830 (+2.69%)       Adelaide $649,510 (+1.37%)       Perth $582,081 (-0.52%)       Hobart $699,668 (-0.28%)       Darwin $636,930 (-0.88%)       Canberra $898,901 (-0.88%)       National $909,177 (-0.19%)                UNIT MEDIAN ASKING PRICES AND WEEKLY CHANGE     Sydney $590,626 (-0.46%)       Melbourne $473,145 (-0.48%)       Brisbane $369,879 (-1.08%)       Adelaide $305,477 (+1.52%)       Perth $333,363 (-0.31%)       Hobart $487,440 (-6.89%)       Darwin $366,924 (-0.98%)       Canberra $397,038 (-7.49%)       National $434,380 (-2.60%)                HOUSES FOR SALE AND WEEKLY CHANGE     Sydney 9,125 (-508)       Melbourne 13,913 (-654)       Brisbane 8,220 (-594)       Adelaide 3,339 (+26)       Perth 11,136 (-136)       Hobart 437 (-7)       Darwin 240 (-6)       Canberra 672 (-20)       National 47,082 (-1,899)                UNITS FOR SALE AND WEEKLY CHANGE     Sydney 8,152 (-181)       Melbourne 8,696 (-136)       Brisbane 2,636 (-108)       Adelaide 847 (-27)       Perth 2,634 (+11)       Hobart 83 (-7)       Darwin 369 (-3)       Canberra 480 (+14)       National 23,897 (-437)                HOUSE MEDIAN ASKING RENTS AND WEEKLY CHANGE     Sydney $580 (+$10)       Melbourne $440 ($0)       Brisbane $480 (+$5)       Adelaide $450 ($0)       Perth $470 (+$20)       Hobart $540 (-$10)       Darwin $630 (-$10)       Canberra $675 (-$5)       National $546 ($0)                UNIT MEDIAN ASKING RENTS AND WEEKLY CHANGE     Sydney $480 ($0)       Melbourne $360 (-$5)       Brisbane $440 ($0)       Adelaide $360 ($0)       Perth $410 (+$10)       Hobart $420 (+$30)       Darwin $500 (+$5)       Canberra $550 (+$3)       National $449 (+$4)                HOUSES FOR RENT AND WEEKLY CHANGE     Sydney 6,520 (+340)       Melbourne 9,842 (+219)       Brisbane 4,108 (+67)       Adelaide 1,114 (+31)       Perth 1,987 (+27)       Hobart 190 (+17)       Darwin 116 (+9)       Canberra 402 (+37)       National 24,279 (+747)                UNITS FOR RENT AND WEEKLY CHANGE     Sydney 17,331 (+299)       Melbourne 15,809 (-365)       Brisbane 3,104 (-53)       Adelaide 577 (-23)       Perth 988 (-28)       Hobart 77 (+5)       Darwin 273 (+14)       Canberra 495 (-21)       National 38,654 (-172)                HOUSE ANNUAL GROSS YIELDS AND TREND       Sydney 2.08% (↑)        Melbourne 2.40% (↓)       Brisbane 3.53% (↓)       Adelaide 3.60% (↓)     Perth 4.20% (↑)        Hobart 4.01% (↓)       Darwin 5.14% (↓)     Canberra 3.90% (↑)      National 3.12% (↑)             UNIT ANNUAL GROSS YIELDS AND TREND       Sydney 4.23% (↑)        Melbourne 3.96% (↓)     Brisbane 6.19% (↑)        Adelaide 6.13% (↓)     Perth 6.40% (↑)      Hobart 4.48% (↑)      Darwin 7.09% (↑)      Canberra 7.20% (↑)      National 5.37% (↑)             HOUSE RENTAL VACANCY RATES AND TREND       Sydney 1.7% (↑)      Melbourne 2.4% (↑)      Brisbane 1.0% (↑)      Adelaide 0.7% (↑)      Perth 1.0% (↑)      Hobart 0.9% (↑)      Darwin 0.9% (↑)      Canberra 0.7% (↑)      National 1.5% (↑)             UNIT RENTAL VACANCY RATES AND TREND       Sydney 3.7% (↑)      Melbourne 4.9% (↑)      Brisbane 2.0% (↑)      Adelaide 1.3% (↑)      Perth 1.4% (↑)      Hobart 1.7% (↑)      Darwin 1.0% (↑)      Canberra 1.5% (↑)      National 3.4% (↑)             AVERAGE DAYS TO SELL HOUSES AND TREND       Sydney 25.0 (↑)      Melbourne 26.4 (↑)        Brisbane 31.0 (↓)       Adelaide 24.8 (↓)     Perth 41.2 (↑)        Hobart 20.1 (↓)       Darwin 36.6 (↓)     Canberra 18.7 (↑)      National 28.0 (↑)             AVERAGE DAYS TO SELL UNITS AND TREND       Sydney 26.4 (↑)      Melbourne 28.8 (↑)        Brisbane 35.0 (↓)     Adelaide 30.3 (↑)        Perth 44.6 (↓)     Hobart 21.7 (↑)      Darwin 41.0 (↑)      Canberra 28.5 (↑)      National 32.0 (↑)            
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Inflation Could Mean Value Stocks’ Time to Shine

Bitcoin, gold and oil are all having a moment, but the best haven might be value stocks.

By SPENCER JAKAB
Wed, Oct 27, 2021Grey Clock 3 min

Bitcoin, gold, oil, real estate—many assets are finding themselves on investors’ radar screens as concerns about inflation grow. The best refuge might be one that has been out of fashion for a while, though: boring old value stocks.

Value investing had a brief moment of superior performance early this year, only to sink back into second-class status as stocks like Tesla with triple-digit earnings multiples—and many with no earnings at all—surged anew. A broad basket of cheap stocks represented by the Russell 3000 Value Index has appreciated by a respectable 80% in the past five years. Russell’s corresponding basket of growth stocks has done more than 100 percentage points better, however.

Many people think of stocks of any stripe as a lousy investment when the cost of living surges, because the last time U.S. inflation was a major problem—from the late 1960s through the early 1980s—they went exactly nowhere and lost money in real terms. But companies with real assets, debts that are eroded by inflation and the ability to raise prices can do well and have done so at other times when inflation was elevated.

Even when they didn’t, value stocks were good relative performers. Decades like the 1940s, 1970s and 1980s saw value stocks beat growth amid fairly high inflation. By contrast, decades with low inflation or deflation such as the 2010s, 1930s and 1990s saw the opposite trend, according to data from researchers Eugene Fama and Kenneth French.

“It does feel like there is a shift,” says John Alberg, co-founder of Euclidean Technologies, which uses machine learning to manage long-term investments based on historical trends.

If inflation really is “transitory”—the result of supply-chain pressures that will soon reverse—then maybe growth can continue to trounce value for a while. But concerns about inflation have a way of becoming entrenched and turning into a persistent trend as companies succeed in pushing through price increases and workers demand higher pay. A search for “inflation” on media research site Factiva shows more hits in October, which isn’t yet over, than during any month in the past decade.

Companies that make electric cars, experimental drugs or software can raise prices, too, but their shares might be less desirable if inflation really picks up. The simple reason, Mr. Alberg surmises, is that when interest rates rise—as they tend to do during inflationary periods—the prospect of a payoff in the future is worth less than a more certain stream of cash in the near term.

Asset manager GMO recently opined on inflation hedges and found flaws with all of those now in fashion. Buying insurance backed by the full faith and credit of the U.S. Treasury through TIPS—bonds indexed to inflation—has become expensive.

So are industrial commodities, which cost money to store or to hold via financial instruments like futures. Traditional and newer havens like gold or bitcoin, meanwhile, have no intrinsic worth so they might or might not protect you. The best strategy, according to GMO, is to bet on a store of value in the form of cheap stocks.

“This is like being offered inflation insurance at a discount,” the asset manager said.

Note that this could merely mean a less-bad performance. Some decades when value stocks provided a haven and inflation was on the higher side, such as the 1980s, had stellar returns, but they started from a point when all stocks were a bargain. The cyclically adjusted price-to-earnings ratio maintained by Yale professor Robert Shiller was in the single digits in 1981. Today it is around 39 times—its highest level since shortly after the technology stock bubble burst 21 years ago and above the 1929 peak.

Value stocks might not be the most exciting inflation hedge, but havens rarely are.

Reprinted by permission of The Wall Street Journal, Copyright 2021 Dow Jones & Company. Inc. All Rights Reserved Worldwide. Original date of publication: October 26, 2021.

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