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Market News

SEPTICS Are Flushing the FAANGs

Jeff Weniger, CFA, Director, Asset Allocation

Last summer, we wrote “Time to Move from FAANGs to SEPTICS?” Let’s revisit the topic.


The FAANG pack consists of Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Netflix and Google’s parent, Alphabet, which were knocking the lights out of virtually everything else in the stock market at the time.


SEPTICS is our tongue-in-cheek acronym for a handful of unloved S&P 500 industry groups.


Quite different from the FAANGs, they are a hodgepodge of industries—including packaged foods, tobacco and chemicals—that I threw together just because it made a funny acronym.


The relentless multiyear FAANG trend ended in June, though the group has bounced sharply higher in recent weeks.


Figure 1 speaks for itself.


Figure 1: Cumulative FAANG Outperformance vs. SEPTICS

Cumulative FAANG Outperformance vs. SEPTICS


Figure 2 shows the return of the two groups since we published the first SEPTICS blog post mentioned earlier. Netflix and Facebook started to buckle shortly after the post went online.


Figure 2: FAANGs vs. SEPTICS, 6/11/18–1/9/19

FAANGs vs SEPTICS 611181919


It Was Never About the SEPTICS


What was the genius of the SEPTICS? There was no genius. Those industry groups were selected for no reason in particular. The great thing about the SEPTICS in 2018’s second half was simply that they were not FAANGs.


Remember the first chart that showed the FAANGs outperforming by 867 percentage points before collapsing? Figure 3 shows the FAANGs against two other ridiculous, unscientifically bunched groups: the RAWFISH and DOGS.


Figure 3: FAANGs vs. a Randomly Selected S&P Industry Hodgepodge

FAANGs vs. a Randomly Selected S&P Industry Hodgepodge


It is basically the same chart. That’s because the FAANGs walloped just about everything over the last five years.


Figure 4 repeats the table above, only this time it has the FAANGs against the RAWFISH and the DOGS.


Figure 4: FAANGs vs. Other Industry Hodgepodge, 6/11/18–1/9/19

FAANGs vs Other Industry Hodgepodge 611191919 


With the FAANGs still up by hundreds of percentage points relative to…well, relative to just about everything…fortunes in 2019 are again going to depend on whether those five stocks are working or not, and whether investors are in or out.


If the tide is going out once and for all on the high fliers, then SEPTICS, RAWFISH and DOGS—anything that populates value indexes—may finally catch some prolonged outperformance.

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