The growth vs value debate rages on as volatility slams the market — here's what investors say to buy now

It's been one of the biggest themes amid the recent sell-off: should investors rotate out of growth and into value?

Value stocks are typically defined by their low multiples and stable fundamentals relative to their so-called growth peers, which are traditionally defined by their outsize growth projections relative to the market. Those companies, however, generally lack some more mature features like paying out dividends.

Even as growth stocks like Amazon and Netflix have fallen double digits just this month, one top technician says investors would be wise to stick with the once high-flying group.

Ari Wald, head of technical analysis at Oppenheimer, wrote in a weekend note to clients that he sees further downside for value stocks. He contended Monday on CNBC's "Trading Nation" that while value is indeed outperforming growth this month — the S&P 500 value stock-tracking ETF, IVE, has lost 7 percent this month while the IVW, which tracks S&P 500 growth stocks, has dropped 11 percent — he's more constructive on names with momentum.

"It's been a tough month across the board, whether you're in the growth index, or in the value index, or in the S&P 500. All these indexes have broken their bull market trend levels. I think we're at the lower end of what could be this new developing range. We're momentum investors and we're still seeing the best opportunities in more growth-oriented industries like software," he said on "Trading Nation."

Examining two select industry groups within growth and value, software and banks, respectively, he's more optimistic on software's next move than that of banks. Wald pointed to the software industry group coming off a new high, correcting into a rising 200-day moving average and trading above its early 2018 highs.

Meanwhile, bank stocks as a group have failed to make a new 2018 high. He added, "From a risk-reward [standpoint], we're of the view that the weak get weaker. If we're wrong, we think it actually gets led lower by value, and I think growth can hold up better."

Others say value, over growth, is the place to be.

Investors would be wise to carry an "overweight" position in value, said Chad Morganlander, portfolio manager at Washington Crossing Advisors, and more specifically in consumer staples and health care. The health-care sector is the top-performing sector this year, on Monday dethroning technology as the best performer in 2018.

"You should emphasize being defensive overall. … What we've noticed over 27 years of doing this is that when global growth starts to decelerate, that growth stocks actually are quite vulnerable. Momentum starts to break down, and you start to see growth companies have to ratchet down their future expectations," he said Monday on "Trading Nation."

Morganlander said investors should still keep growth stocks in their portfolios, "but be more circumspect about the risk that you're taking."

The S&P 500 growth ETF and its value counterpart were up modestly on Tuesday.

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Trading Nation is a multimedia financial news program that shows investors and traders how to use the news of the day to their advantage. This is where experts from across the financial world – including macro strategists, technical analysts, stock-pickers, and traders who specialize in options, currencies, and fixed income – come together to find the best ways to capitalize on recent developments in the market. Trading Nation: Where headlines become opportunities.

Michael Santoli

Michael Santoli joined CNBC in October 2015 as a Senior Markets Commentator, based at the network's Global Headquarters in Englewood Cliffs, N.J.  Santoli brings his extensive markets expertise to CNBC's Business Day programming, with a regular appearance on CNBC's “Closing Bell (M-F, 3PM-5PM ET).   In addition, he contributes to CNBCand CNBC PRO, writing regular articles and creating original digital videos.

Previously, Santoli was a Senior Columnist at Yahoo Finance, where he wrote analysis and commentary on the stock market, corporate news and the economy. He also appeared on Yahoo Finance video programs, where he offered insights on the most important business stories of the day, and was a regular contributor to CNBC and other networks.

Follow Michael Santoli on Twitter @michaelsantoli

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