It's becoming more and more difficult to determine value funds from growth funds, according to a Merrill Lynch study.

Fund whose objective is to invest in value actually hold a lot of growth stocks, according to the study, detailed in a Wall Street Journal report.

The top 10 stocks owned by funds reviewed by Merrill were Pfizer, Microsoft, Citigroup, General Electric, Johnson & Johnson, Tyco International, American International Group, J.P. Morgan Chase and Exxon Mobil.

"Many stocks on this list seem to cross style guidelines," the Merrill report observed. "For example, Pfizer, though considered a value stock, is held by just as many growth funds as value. And GE, though considered a growth stock, is held by both value and growth managers at near equal level."

Pfizer, the report indicated, was owned by 78% of blend funds, 68% of value funds and 68% of growth funds. Microsoft appears in 74% of blend funds, 62% of value funds and 74% of growth funds. CitiGroup, meanwhile, is on the roster of 62% of blend funds, 72% of value funds and 56% of growth funds.

The report, which was released as part of the firm's quarterly analysis of fund stock ownership, marked the first time Merrill examined investment styles. The Merrill study focused on 150 funds with a total of $1.1 trillion in assets. On average, those funds held 112 stocks. The study also revealed that although there's a trend to crossing over among value and growth fund investing styles, the two camps remain strongly divided among sector lines.

The staff of Money Management Executive ("MME") has prepared these capsule summaries based on reports published by the news sources to which they are attributed. Those news sources are not associated with MME, and have not prepared, sponsored, endorsed, or approved these summaries.

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