The recent outperformance in value-oriented stocks has put renewed focus on the asset category after the growth style took center stage in recent years, but value equities and related exchange traded funds have proven to enhance returns over the long run as well.

The value factor experienced some rough times during the heyday of the ongoing bull market as growth and momentum factors overshadowed the value style. With investors embracing safety this year, value stocks and the corresponding ETFs are making a comeback.

Investors who believe that value investments may just be the current flavor of the day should keep in mind that value investing is a popular long-term investment strategy.

Value stocks have historically outperformed growth stocks, or companies with high earnings expectations, in almost every market over longer periods. In their attempts to better measure market returns, Eugene Fama and Kenneth French, both professors at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, have found that value outperformed growth stocks and small-caps tend to outperform large-caps over the long-term as outlined in their Fama-French Three-Factor Model.

For example, the MSCI USA Value Index has outperformed the MSCI USA Growth Index by an annualized 81 basis points since 1974 through September 2015.

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