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The Russell 1000 Index has lost 44% over the past year and is down 14% year to date. Similarly, the Russell 2000 Index is down 42% for the past 12 months and lost investors 18% since the beginning of this year. With both of these indexes down substantially recently by about the same amount, are large caps more attractive than small caps?

Percent to Target Charts: This graph shows the Percent to Target Current for a universe relative to the overall market. Values greater than 1 indicate the universe is more undervalued than the market, while values less than 1 indicate the opposite. The red line identifies the historical median value to provide a basis to understand valuation levels relative to historic norms.

Small Universe: Companies in the AFG universe that have a market cap less than $300 million and EPS consensus estimates are available.

This chart illustrates that the median Small Cap company is currently overvalued, relative to the market. Over the past 6 years, Small Caps have been trading at a premium to their historic valuation.

Large Universe: Companies in the AFG universe that have a market cap greater than $2 billion and EPS consensus estimates are available.

This chart illustrates that the median Large Cap company is currently undervalued, relative to the market. Large Caps have been trading at a discount to their historic valuation, indicating a potentially attractive opportunity.

Following is a list of the biggest 10 companies (determined by market cap) in the Russell 1000 and Russell 2000. AFG’s Value Expectations interface, which solves for implied sales growth embedded in a stock price (VE Sales Growth), allows us to understand the embedded Sales Growth, EBITDA Margins, and Asset Turnovers a company has to deliver in the future to justify its current trading price.

In theory, and in normal circumstances, if the imbedded future performance is very conservative relative to the company’s historical performance, the stock is regarded as undervalued. An undervalued company is more likely to outperform those companies with high expectations relative to what they have delivered historically. The tables below display the implied future sales growth of these companies assuming their EBITDA margins and Asset turnovers stay at their 5-year median levels.

Conclusion:

Both the percent to target charts and VE analysis show that large caps look more attractive than small cap stocks. The large cap stocks on the list have lower expectations for implied sales growth and the overall universe is currently undervalued.

Source: Are Large Cap Stocks More Effective than Small Caps?