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When prices are at record highs, where should buyers look for value? If that question is about stocks, is the answer value stocks or value funds?

Maybe. Value may sound like a good play with equities having surged 10% since Election Day, but those heady, short-term gains may mean value stocks and the funds that focus on them may also be historically overpriced.

With the S&P 500 trading at more than 25 times its earnings, Morningstar analysts suggest the steady pace could see a reversal.

"There's certainly a fair amount of downside [potential] for all equities," Russell Kinnel, Morningstar's director of manager research, said in a new report. "It seems like the risks have grown."

Value funds outperformed growth categories last year in three- and five-year trailing periods, while growth maintains a slight lead over 10 years, Morningstar said.

Nearly one-third of the holdings of one leading value fund, Towle Deep Value, are in industrials, and that "benefited from the trends," said Morningstar Analyst Gretchen Rupp. “Industrials, infrastructure, energy and financials were often held in these funds.”

Scroll through to see the top 20 value funds with more than $100 million in assets over the last one-, three- and five-year periods. All data from Morningstar.


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