Not every investor is chagrined by the dismal way the year has started in stocks. Some, like self-described value manager Rupal Bhansali, are gleefully loading up on companies that got beaten down when the whole market sold off at the start of the year.
Bhansali, whose Ariel International Equity Fund had been socking away cash for just such an occasion, says she is buying in the most battered areas, including the one identified most often as the reason for the current market selloff: China.
"We're finding value in volatility," said Bhansali. Her fund is one of just three U.S. large-cap value funds tracked by Morningstar Inc to deliver positive returns over one year after last week's broad market decline. "We have a very large pond to fish from."
She is buying shares of China Mobile Ltd, down 13 percent over the last year. She said she expects the massive wireless carrier likely will blossom as consumers there take on data plans and gain internet access for the first time.
She is also buying Microsoft Corp, to her more of a "staple" than a risky technology stock, and Dialog Semiconductor Plc, which she sees as a strong balance sheet bet even though it supplies tech giant Apple Inc, which is facing concerns about slower iPhone sales growth.
Other value managers are also adding to existing positions and scooping up new finds after U.S. and global stocks started the year with historically large declines.
The average actively-managed large-cap fund ended 2015 with 2.6 percent of its portfolios in cash, about 73 percent more than the 1.5 percent they held the year before, according to Lipper.
They have put a broad array of beaten-down sectors, from banks to retailers, in their sights.
If these buys pay off, it will be a turnaround for the value investment style, which favors stocks that have lower prices relative to earnings and assets.
In 2016, high-priced growing companies like Amazon and Netflix rewarded investors. Large-cap value funds lost 4.1 percent in 2015, versus a 3.6-percent gain for large-cap growth funds, Morningstar reported.