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Value and Growth: A Meaningless Distinction?

When the distinction makes sense, and when it doesn't.

There's a long-running debate in investment circles, which was summed up nicely by one of our readers in a recent Q&A with Christine Benz, editor of Morningstar FundInvestor:

Charlie Munger, Warren Buffett's "partner" managing Berkshire Hathaway BRK.B, has been quoted as saying, "The whole concept of dividing it up into value and growth strikes me as 'twaddle.' It's convenient for a bunch of pension fund consultants to get fees prattling about a way for one advisor to distinguish himself from another. But, to me, all intelligent investing is value investing."

Munger's not alone. We've heard similar comments from many serious stock-pickers--people like Mario Gabelli, Bill Ruane of Sequoia Fund (SEQUX), and Bill Miller of Legg Mason Value (LMVTX), to name just a few. They all pooh-pooh the practice of placing stocks in value and growth buckets.