Time to reappraise the ‘value’ approach?


After a tough decade, the environment for the value approach is improving, says Lisa Yang, Co-Manager of the BlackRock Sustainable American Income Trust plc (LON:BRSA). Is it time for investors to take note?

Capital at risk. The value of investments and the income from them can fall as well as rise and are not guaranteed. Investors may not get back the amount originally invested.

It has been a difficult decade for the ‘value’ approach to investing, but this may be about to change. There are clear shifts in the inflation and interest rate environment, which should favour value, while the value approach still has a clear advantage on valuation. However, we would argue there are other reasons to look at value today – from balancing ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) exposure to its diversity.

The first reason to reappraise the value approach is simply the valuation argument. Value always trades at a discount to growth, but that elastic has been stretched. Now the gap between the valuations of growth and value stocks is at historic highs, even after the recent bounce back for certain value sectors such as energy.

This coincides with a change in the interest rate regime. Our view is that inflation is likely to persist, given the situation in Ukraine and the supply chain bottlenecks that are a legacy of the Covid pandemic.  Higher food and energy prices are likely to be around for a little while longer. The US Federal Reserve has not wavered on rate rises despite the rising cost of living, recognising the need to tackle inflation, and is still forecasting at least six rate rises for the year ahead.

In general, this is a far more favourable environment for value investors. Looking at the 80–100-year history of value versus growth, value tends to do best is in periods of higher and rising rates and higher and rising inflation. This is the regime likely to prevail for the foreseeable future.

The ESG angle

However, there are other, less obvious reasons to turn to value today. The past few years and the strong performance of growth stocks have left many investors with portfolios that are pointed in one direction. It may be a particular problem for ESG investors. The vast majority of sustainable ESG funds are growth oriented. This growth skew could be a looming risk for sustainable investors.

As such, there is an important place for a value ESG fund within a portfolio. There are relatively few funds that fulfil this brief and value investing continues to be seen as focused on old-fashioned, carbon-intensive industries with little to tempt a sustainable investor. In reality, value and ESG investing are not incompatible and bringing in an ESG lens can help reduce the volatility associated with value investing.

This Trust seeks to have a premium ESG score to the benchmark and lower carbon emissions intensity. We also look to ensure that this portfolio has a higher score based on Scope 1 and 2 greenhouse gas emissions.

In general, we would rather work with companies to improve their practices. In the energy sector, for example, not all companies are equal. When it comes to carbon reduction and future proofing their business, some companies have their head buried in the sand, but other companies are playing a vital role in the transition to clean energy. There are a lot of companies using the cash flows from energy production to invest in greener options. We need to provide them with the capital to make that change.

Diversity of opportunity

A final reason to consider value is that it is a far more diverse approach than investors have come to believe. The BlackRock Sustainable American Income Trust strives for balance and resilience, and we have no problems creating this within a value portfolio. We can find opportunities amid relatively cyclical sectors, such as energy, alongside more stable sectors, such as healthcare.  

Perhaps surprisingly, technology is our largest relative weight. Technology stocks are becoming the new staples. Just like healthcare, people cannot shut off or stop buying technology just because the economy is in recession. On the flip side, the Trust also has a significant weight to consumer discretionary stocks. The US consumer is in good health, a very different position from its situation during the global financial crisis. House prices are rising, at the same time as income and wages, which should help support spending.

We’re excited by the outlook for value stocks. Over the long term, value outperforms, but the last 10 years or so, in the wake of the global financial crisis, have been very tough for value investors. That’s an anomaly in history and has left value stocks on a significant discount. We’re now in a real regime change and there’s a lot of stored value in those value stocks. To our mind, the rotation that we’ve seen towards value stocks is only just getting started.

This material is not intended to be relied upon as a forecast, research or investment advice and is not a recommendation, offer or solicitation to buy or sell any securities or financial product or to adopt any investment strategy. The opinions expressed are from BlackRock as of April 2022 and may change as subsequent conditions vary.

Click here to learn more about BlackRock Sustainable American Income Trust plc

Risk Warnings

Past performance is not a reliable indicator of current or future results and should not be the sole factor of consideration when selecting a product or strategy.

Changes in the rates of exchange between currencies may cause the value of investments to diminish or increase. Fluctuation may be particularly marked in the case of a higher volatility fund and the value of an investment may fall suddenly and substantially. Levels and basis of taxation may change from time to time.

Trust Specific Risks

Exchange rate risk: The return of your investment may increase or decrease as a result of currency fluctuations.

Risk to capital through derivative use: The Fund may use derivatives to aim to generate more income. This may reduce the potential for capital growth.

Capital growth/Income variation risk: Investors in this Fund should understand that capital growth is not a priority and values may fluctuate and the level of income may vary from time to time and is not guaranteed.

Derivative risk: The Fund uses derivatives as part of its investment strategy. Compared to a fund which only invests in traditional instruments such as stocks and bonds, derivatives are potentially subject to a higher level of risk.

Gearing risk: Investment strategies, such as borrowing, used by the Trust can result in even larger losses suffered when the value of the underlying investments fall.

Important Information

Issued by BlackRock Investment Management (UK) Limited, authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Registered office: 12 Throgmorton Avenue, London, EC2N 2DL. Tel: + 44 (0)20 7743 3000. Registered in England and Wales No. 02020394. For your protection telephone calls are usually recorded. Please refer to the Financial Conduct Authority website for a list of authorised activities conducted by BlackRock.

The material is marketing material. The Company is managed by BlackRock Fund Managers Limited (BFM) as the AIFM. BFM has delegated certain investment management and other ancillary services to BlackRock Investment Management (UK) Limited. The Company’s shares are traded on the London Stock Exchange and dealing may only be through a member of the Exchange. The Company will not invest more than 15% of its gross assets in other listed investment trusts. SEDOL™ is a trademark of the London Stock Exchange plc and is used under licence.

Net Asset Value (NAV) performance is not the same as share price performance, and shareholders may realise returns that are lower or higher than NAV performance.

The BlackRock Sustainable American Income Trust plc currently conducts its affairs so that its securities can be recommended by IFAs to ordinary retail investors in accordance with the Financial Conduct Authority’s rules in relation to non-mainstream investment products and intends to continue to do so for the foreseeable future. The securities are excluded from the Financial Conduct Authority’s restrictions which apply to non-mainstream investment products because they are shares in an investment trust.

BlackRock has not considered the suitability of this investment against your individual needs and risk tolerance. To ensure you understand whether our product is suitable, please read the fund specific risks in the Key Investor Document (KID) which gives more information about the risk profile of the investment. The KID and other documentation are available on the relevant product pages at www.blackrock.co.uk/its. We recommend you seek independent professional advice prior to investing.

This information should not be relied upon as research, investment advice, or a recommendation regarding any products, strategies, or any security in particular. This is for illustrative and informational purposes and is subject to change. It has not been approved by any regulatory authority or securities regulator. The environmental, social and governance (“ESG”) considerations discussed herein may affect an investment team’s decision to invest in certain companies or industries from time to time. Results may differ from portfolios that do not apply similar ESG considerations to their investment process.

Any research in this material has been procured and may have been acted on by BlackRock for its own purpose. The results of such research are being made available only incidentally. The views expressed do not constitute investment or any other advice and are subject to change. They do not necessarily reflect the views of any company in the BlackRock Group or any part thereof and no assurances are made as to their accuracy.

This material is for information purposes only and does not constitute an offer or invitation to anyone to invest in any BlackRock funds and has not been prepared in connection with any such offer.

© 2022 BlackRock, Inc. All Rights reserved. BLACKROCK, BLACKROCK SOLUTIONS, iSHARES, BUILD ON BLACKROCK and SO WHAT DO I DO WITH MY MONEY are trademarks of BlackRock, Inc. or its subsidiaries in the United States and elsewhere. All other trademarks are those of their respective owners.


Find more news, interviews, share price & company profile here for:
BlackRock Sustainable American Income Trust plc

Good news travels fast (but only if you make that happen). Share on:

Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on facebook
Share on email
Share on reddit
Find more news, interviews, share price & company profile here for:
BlackRock Sustainable American Income Trust plc

AIM All Share Index