Large Cap Domestic Stocks Will Rise Again (ETFs: ELG, ELV, PWB, PWV, DIA)

by: Roger Nusbaum

Roger Nusbaum submits: Businessweek had a good cover story that ties into some recent posts and comments on this site about the death, real or perceived, of large cap domestic stocks.

The most troubling part of the article was that the Fidelity Blue Chip Fund wants to change its benchmark from a broad-based benchmark (S&P 500) to a style-based benchmark (Russell 1000 Growth).

Changing benchmarks can be quite precarious. The proposal by Fidelity is not about switching to a better mouse trap, but rather calls for fundamentally changing a fund from broad to style. The article makes it seem like this has been proposed because the fund owns what has been the wrong part of the market.

The fund is what it is, it will be in favor sometimes and out of favor the other times. An attempt to change benchmarks due to lagging returns in the current benchmark is a disaster waiting to happen.

Fidelity as a zillion funds. There are probably quite a few funds targeted to parts of the market that are not working and plenty of funds that are doing well. Next year or the year after or the year after then when Pfizer, Microsoft and Citigroup lead the market, the old Fidelity Blue Chip would have been a great name to hold.

The majority of the article is devoted to how long big blue chips have lagged, how long small cap has lead and some comments about why large cap should finally take the lead but with a an occasional dissenting view for balance.

One of the leaders of the pro large cap-camp was Jason Trennert from ISI. The article acknowledged that Trennert has been wrong about this for a while but he still believes the values are compelling.

He is on TV a lot and while I do not know whether he is ever right about anything it would be more useful to hear how he allocates money. He favors large cap. OK, what does that mean? Is he 100% large cap? Is he 20% large cap with 10% in eight other things? What?

You'd think, if for nothing else, he would disseminate more detail just so he wouldn't look as wrong as he does. This kind of ties in with comments I have made about Vince Farrell in the past. These guys are not dumb, but when they come on TV or get quoted they don't really say anything.

One thing I will repeat is that large cap will absolutely have its day again. You can try to time it if you think you can, but it will happen. For all I know this article could be the bell ringing, but having money exposed when the time comes will let you have, at a minimum, decent returns without having to be that smart.