- The last 12 months have been an annus horribilis for my Neff-inspired screen.
- Cyclical picks came back to bite.
- The screen still shows solid outperformance since inception nine years ago.
- Growth characteristics of many of the 2021 picks look better than has been the case for a number of years.
My screen based on the investment approach of great American fund manager John Neff has had an annus horribilis. Besides some specific causes for the calamitous performance, I think the torrid showing may tell us something about the difficulties of looking for cheap growth stocks after a long bull market.
Before getting on to my more general observation about the terrible 12 months, it is worth highlighting one specific factor. I present warts-and-all results from stock screens in this column. So it was last year that NMC was included in the results but with my writing a risk warning into the accompanying article. At the time NMC had been the subject of a withering short report and later fraud was indeed uncovered.