Mid Cap and Value Signals Remain Positive for Seventh Straight Month

Includes: IWD, MDY
by: Steve Birenberg, CFA

For the seventh consecutive month there were no changes to the signals from Northlake's Market Cap and Style models. Mid Cap and Value continue to be favored. As a result, client positions in the S&P 400 Mid Cap (NYSEARCA:MDY) and the Russell 1000 Value (NYSEARCA:IWD) will be maintained for another month.

The lack of change to the signals for this long is unusual but no unprecedented. The Market Cap model typically changes signals every four to six months and the Style model normally changes every five to seven months.

There was little movement in the underlying indicators of the Market Cap model, which remains right in the middle of the range that favors Mid Cap. However, the Style model saw two indicators shift in favor of growth. Any further shifts in specific indicators in July could change the signal from value to growth for August.

The two indicators that shifted toward growth this month were insider activity and trend. The insider indicator measures net buying by insiders of stocks in growth and value industries. Over the past few months it has shifted decisively toward growth. The trend indicators measure recent relative performance of value and growth indices and are picking up the relative strength in growth stocks over the past few months. In reality, it has been weakness in value stocks that is driving the shift. Bank and industrial stocks fared poorly in the market correction when investors lost confidence in the economic recovery and worried again about bank balance sheets in light of renewed problems in Greece.

In June, the model signals were inaccurate. Small and Mid Cap stocks led the market lower so MDY trailed the return of the benchmark S&P 500. However, year to date, the Market Cap model has added significant value with MDY gaining almost 8% versus 5% for the S&P 500.

The Style model's value signal produced a return slightly worse than both the S&P 500 and small cap Russell 2000 in June. For the year, the Style model is now slightly worse than the market and the Russell 1000 Growth. Neither gap is large, however. This lagging performance for value stocks is what the trend indicator discussed above has picked up.

Disclosure: MDY and IWD are widely held by clients of Northlake Capital Management, LLC, including in Steve Birenberg's personal accounts. Steve Birenberg is sole proprietor of Northlake, an SEC registered investment advisor.