In case of Tesla the recent rally is fuelled by speculative sentiment in ‘green stocks’ as investors are betting that the new Biden administration will provide a significant tailwind for these companies through new subsidies and regulation. In our Q1 Outlook, which will soon be released, we touch on the ‘green transformation’ trade and highlight the various speculative aspects of this theme. We still think that the ‘green transformation’ will be one of the biggest trends in financial markets over the next 10 years, but this year we will most likely see a split of the ‘green trade’ into that of ‘green quality’ vs ‘green speculative’. The speculative green stocks will also be found in the high EV/Sales bucket, so the phenomenon of ‘bubble stocks’ has spilled over into other parts of the economy than that of Silicon Valley companies.
High EV/Sales stocks have severe drawdowns during corrections
As the backtesting on Russell 1000 shows, low EV/Sales stocks (value stock) normally do better than high EV/Sales stocks (growth stocks) but since 2014 value stocks have underperformed massively as investors have increasingly been bidding up valuation multiples on high growth stocks as interest rates have plunged. The last time we saw value vs growth plunge to this degree was during the dot-com bubble years, but we all know how it ended. The high EV/Sales stocks as group experienced an 80% drawdown compared to around 53% for the other quintiles in the Russell 1000. The spread between the two groups (long value stocks and short growth stocks) rose during the drawdown years after 2000 and again during the great financial crisis. Our bet is that the same will happen again, we just do not know the timing. It can be difficult to see in the chart but the spread bottomed in August 2020 and has since gone up (value stocks outperforming again) which is related to rising interest rates and the reflation trade.