RPT-Wall St Week Ahead-U.S. funds focus on media stocks, banks to find value as mid-caps rally

David Randall | March 17, 2019

RPT-Wall St Week Ahead-U.S. funds focus on media stocks, banks to find value as mid-caps rally
The S&P 400 Mid-Cap index has surged to its best start to a year since 1991, both rewarding fund managers and forcing them to work harder to seek out bargains in a group that is now the most expensive part of the U.S. market based on their historical averages. The rally in mid-cap stocks - companies with a market valuation between $2 billion and $10 billion - has come during a broad rally in global stock markets as investors price in a resolution in the trade talks between the United States and China and fewer interest rate hikes by the Federal Reserve. Mid-caps are up 14 percent for the year to date and sport an average price-to-earnings ratio of 16.9 times forward earnings, for their highest valuation premiums to small-cap stocks since 2017, according to Bank of America Merrill Lynch research. Yet fund managers from Janus Henderson, Hotchkis & Wiley, and Fairpointe Capital are among those who are still finding values by concentrating on financial, energy and media stocks and eschewing the high-priced real estate investment trusts and utility companies that make up nearly a fifth of the benchmark index.

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