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The Inversion Playbook

August 16, 2019
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After months of steady increases, negative-yielding debt has skyrocketed to new all-time highs, currently standing at close to $16 trillion globally. At the same time, an increase in global risk aversion driven by weaker than expected economic data and general uncertainty has driven the spread between U.S. 2-year and 10-year yields to invert (albeit briefly for now).

As the predictions for yield curve steepening are proved either wrong or premature, so are those calls for a rotation to value stocks from growth stocks. As such, we continue to favor growth stocks even as their performance may be negatively impacted by macro headlines in the short-term.

What We’ve Seen


  • As longer-term rates have declined, the U.S. 2-year/10-year Treasury yield curve is touching levels last seen in 2007. Another measure of the curve looking at 3-month yields on the short end first inverted in May. This has prompted many investors to rekindle concerns that the likelihood of a U.S. recession could occur in the next 12 to 18 months.
  • Using daily data during yield curve inversions that began in 1989, 1998 and 2006, we found that growth outperforms value on average both heading into and after inversions, furthering our case for growth stocks continuing to be attractive on a relative basis.

Source: Bloomberg Finance, L.P., as of August 13, 2019. Past performance is not indicative of future returns. One cannot invest in an index

Money in Motion

Through the early part of 2019’s second half, both growth and value ETFs are seeing outflows as investors take chips off the table, with growth outflows exceeding $1.14 billion and value at close to $600 million.

  • Putting that into context, the first half of 2019 saw ETF investors pile into growth while redeeming assets from value, resulting in a spread greater than $6 billion as investors may have finally capitulated considering that value ETFs took in $27.3 billion more than growth did in the previous three years.
  • Included in the dataset below, value ETFs have seen greater flows in over 75% of the full semi-annual periods highlighting how consistent flows were over this time period as investors likely still remain long and wrong when it comes to relative positioning. However, many of these flows may be contrarian in nature, so we may not see outflows equaling the inflows.


Source: Bloomberg Finance, L.P., as of August 13, 2019. Data represents the semi-annual net flows of U.S.-listed U.S. Large Cap Growth ETFs and U.S. Large Cap Value ETFs, specifically targeting exposure to U.S. Large Cap Growth and Value stocks, respectively.

What’s Next?

  • While growth stocks may suffer as investors weigh what impact the continuing global slowdown will have on earnings, we caution investors not to view value stocks as a defensive alternative even if they see short-term outperformance.
  • Along with other quality metrics, one measure that investors may want to consider is that the current ratio of the growth cohort has been relatively stable in the recent past, while value stocks have seen their ability to cover short-term obligations deteriorate. While this time may be different, the fact is that an inverted yield curve has preceded each of the last seven recessions. If the FOMC lowers administered rates at the September meeting to a greater extent than they signaled at the July meeting when emphasized the need for insurance as opposed to the start of a new cutting cycle for the time being, they may already be behind the curve.
  • Investors should look to the upcoming Jackson Hole Economic Policy Symposium on August 22 to 24,  aptly named “Challenges for Monetary Policy,” for insights into what the next move may be and in the meantime tune out tweets.


Source: Bloomberg Finance, L.P., as of June 30, 2019. Growth represented by the Russell 1000 Growth Index and Value represented by the Russell 1000 Value Index. One cannot invest directly in an index.

Implementation Ideas

  • With 150% exposure to growth stocks and negative 50% to value stocks, the Direxion Russell 1000® Growth Over Value ETF [RWGV] provides investors with a means to outperform traditional growth strategies thanks to its increased exposure to sectors like Information Technology, Consumer Discretionary and Communication Services.
  •  Conversely, the Direxion Russell 1000® Value Over Growth ETF [RWVG] delivers investors a strategy with 150% long exposure to the Russell 1000® Value Index and 50% short exposure to the Russell 1000® Growth Index offering greater exposure to value stocks at the expense of growth stocks.


  • Russell 1000® Growth Index: The Russell 1000 Growth Index measures the performance of those Russell 1000 companies with higher price-to-book ratios and higher forecasted growth values.
  • Russell 1000® Value Index: The Russell 1000 Value Index measures the performance of those Russell 1000 companies with lower price-to-book ratios and lower forecasted growth values.

An investor should carefully consider a Fund’s investment objective, risks, charges, and expenses before investing. A Fund’s prospectus and summary prospectus contain this and other information about the Direxion Shares. To obtain a Fund’s prospectus and summary prospectus call 866-476-7523 or visit our website at A Fund’s prospectus and summary prospectus should be read carefully before investing.

Direxion Relative Weight ETFs Risks - Investing involves risk including possible loss of principal. The Funds’ investments in derivatives may pose risks in addition to, and greater than, those associated with directly investing in or shorting securities or other investments. Investing in, and/or having exposure to, growth and value securities involves risks.  Risks of growth securities include the risk of sharp price movement, and susceptibility to increased volatility, which may cause them to perform differently than the market as a whole. Risks of value securities include the risk that their intrinsic value may never be fully realized by the market. There is no guarantee that the returns on the Funds’ long or short positions will produce high, or even positive returns and a Fund could lose money if either or both of the Fund’s long and short positions produce negative returns.  Please see the summary and full prospectuses for a more complete description of these and other risks of the Funds.

Distributor: Foreside Fund Services, LLC

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