Value stock exchange traded funds have outpaced funds focused on growth stocks this year and could continue to lead the markets.

The iShares Russell 1000 Value ETF (NYSEArca: IWD) increased 8.7% year-to-date, whereas the iShares Russell 1000 Growth ETF (NYSEArca: IWF) was up 7.1%. IWD shows a price-to-earnings ratio of 15.9, compared to the 20.2 P/E reading for IWF. [Vindicated Value ETFs]

Growth stocks experienced a sharp sell-off in March and April, With investors now targeting value picks, some strategists argue that the dramatic shift in sentiment and market leadership could last a year or more, reports Rob Curran for the Wall Street Journal.

Value stock ETFs attracted $3.1 billion in inflows over April, whereas growth ETFs saw $1.2 billion in redemptions. The differential was “the widest one-month gap on record,” according to BlackRock.

“Rotations this strong, while infrequent, are typically followed by periods where value outperforms,” Morgan Stanley chief U.S. equity strategist Adam Parker in a recent research note.

Parker argues that value stocks are more favorable in an optimistic economic environment. Specifically, he believes investors are looking at companies that can continue to growth in a slow-expansionary world.