Neglected growth

Whilst emojis appear to be the new pitchforks, the mob is after the shorts, feeding a frenzy in stock activity that has made front page headlines the world over. GameStop, once a forlorn bricks-and-mortar video game retailer, is now the talk of the town, and breaking the P&Ls of hedge funds who levered up the book to capitalise on the structural headwinds of live streaming and the direct-to-consumer models of the developers. It is some spectacle. It has also drawn comments from politicians concerned on the ethics of the click-click-buy trading platforms, to Wall Street strategists who now have to maintain their positive view on markets just as valuations begin to squeak. With fundamentals pushed aside in many pockets of the market, there is talk of bubbles and froth. That the economic data is going to print some glitzy numbers later this year as easy comps are comped, is well known, but there is a sense the market is now a little breathless. Yes, there is more upside in selected economic cyclicals, but swathes of the market are already pricing in a 2021 bounce. And then some. Aside from the racy cyclical trade, and the go-go valuations of hyper-growth companies, there remains one body of stocks that has been left behind. A body that could be termed neglected growth. Those beautiful compounding businesses that have weathered the pandemic, sit on pristine balance sheets, lean cost bases and appear coiled to take market share. Businesses that print mid-to-high single digit top line growth over coming years but now trade, in many cases, on depressed absolute and relative valuations. For those active managers who can be bothered to find them, there exists a very real opportunity. Out of favour today, but fundamentals do matter. Patience could well be rewarded with a significant re-rating, and substantial share price upside.