Popular vs. Unpopular Nasdaq Stocks: Which Achieved Higher Returns?

Benjamin Graham, the father of benefit investing, 1st printed “The Intelligent Investor” in 1949. The greatly acclaimed book has become a foundational function for prolonged-phrase buyers aiming to reach significant returns without the need of taking on undue threat in the equities marketplaces.

One of the quite a few topics that Graham covers in “The Intelligent Investor” is the benefit of the value-earnings ratio in evaluating the probable potential gains of a stock. When there are generally exceptions, particularly with tiny-cap or significant-advancement stocks that have a aggressive edge, the theory is that buyers can typically count on to see larger returns from stocks that have a reduce valuation.

Experiment: Popular vs. unpopular huge-cap firms

In the book, Graham carried out an experiment with the Dow Jones Industrial Ordinary, evaluating the stocks on the index with the most affordable multiples to individuals with the highest multiples as nicely as the return of the total index. The experiment is explained in the excerpt below:

“In these it was assumed that an investment was built each and every year in either the six or the ten concerns in the DJIA which were being promoting at the most affordable multipliers of their present-day or preceding year’s earnings. These could be called the ‘cheapest’ stocks in the listing, and their cheapness was evidently the reflection of relative unpopularity with buyers or traders. It was assumed further more that these purchases were being sold out at the close of keeping intervals ranging from one to 5 many years. The results of these investments were being then in comparison with the results proven in either the DJIA as a entire or in the highest multiplier (i.e., the most well-liked) group.”

Graham’s experiment observed that the low value-earnings group outperformed both equally the significant value-earnings group and the DJIA in most observed intervals, with one exception in the 1917 to 1933 period of time.

With the Nasdaq 100 surpassing 10,000 and hitting file highs this earlier 7 days, I thought it would be exciting to perform a comparable course of action to Graham’s DJIA experiment. As an alternative of the Dow Jones, though, I will use the Nasdaq 100 due to the fact it is the modern-day “large-cap, significant-growth” index (a great deal like the DJIA in Graham’s day).

Making use of the 10-year period of time from 2006 to 2016 to include things like the most latest total U.S. recession and restoration cycle, I calculated the returns an trader would have built (excluding transaction charges and dividends) from investing in the Nasdaq 100’s most affordable value-earnings stocks as opposed to its highest value-earnings stocks using two-year and 5-year rebalancing intervals and no rebalancing. At the close of each and every rebalancing period of time, it is assumed that the trader would market out of all positions and set up new types according to the requirements.

Furthermore, for the applications of this experiment, stocks with no value-earnings ratios on account of earning a web reduction in the observed year will not be thought of, just like in Graham’s experiment.

Will the “unpopular” Nasdaq 100 stocks with low value-earnings ratios flip out to have been the extra financially rewarding investments over the earlier ten years, or will the “popular” stocks with the significant value-earnings ratios display superior results?


Beneath is a desk of the normal annual returns of each and every group of the experiment, assuming that equivalent weight was provided to each and every of the low value-earnings and significant value-earnings stocks for the duration of the beginning of the 10-year period of time and each and every rebalance:


No rebalance

5-year rebalance

Two-year rebalance

Very low value-earnings stocks




Substantial value-earnings stocks



fifty eight.forty five%


More than the 10-year period of time from 2006 to 2016, the Nasdaq 100 acquired an normal of forty.eight% for every year. As opposed to almost each configuration in the experiment over, this is a larger return, indicating that in contrast to in Graham’s day, it has become a great deal extra complicated to notify what the whole return of a stock will be based mostly on its earnings and valuation.

Furthermore, due to the fact both equally the low value-earnings stocks and the significant-value earnings stocks underperformed the total index over prolonged-phrase keeping intervals, it would seem that quite a few of the most effective-performing stocks were being either in the middle valuation group or in the negative earnings variety for a great deal of the observed period of time.

The only exception was the two-year rebalance period of time for the stocks with the highest value-earnings ratios on the index.

This is not also surprising considering that buyers presently have significantly extra accessibility to info in comparison to over 70 many years ago. If a firm has little opportunity for advancement, buyers commonly know it, while folks are extra keen to spend larger multiples if a firm looks like it has a strong aggressive edge. The availability of cheap credit card debt has also increased the lifetimes of funds-burning firms, letting them to at some point flourish when their corporate constructions would have failed in the earlier. Effects are also most likely skewed owing to the marketplace currently being in bull marketplace territory for most of the observed period of time.

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