Growth has outperformed value over an extended period, only punctuated by brief reversals.
A world of low growth and intense competition has encouraged this trend, as has low inflation and easy money. It highlights how hard it is to find opportunities for business growth, matched by the difficulty of turning round struggling businesses in declining industries.
Technology is part of this new environment, but changing consumer tastes and competition from low wage economies are also factors. Investors need to find growth niches and businesses with a genuine competitive edge. Winning businesses share key characteristics, such as above-average margins, growing sales, major customers and good cash flow.
Share ratings may be high in the short term - and less conventional metrics may be needed for valuation - but investors should value the potential for the company to reinvest cash flow to secure above average returns. And, some of these businesses are British and mid-cap, with the potential to grow organically without requiring significant further capital. However, in the early stages, dividend pay-outs can be low.
Few British listed companies have the potential to scale up technological leadership in a global business sector. Most of these global platforms, such as Microsoft, are American. But Ocado has the potential to join this elite group. It is emerging as a global robotics and artificial intelligence pioneer. It should be seen as a key component of retail logistics, rather than just a consumer business.
Already, Ocado's delivery technology has attracted a number of major international grocery chains to partner with it. The platform can improve operational efficiency for partners and raise customer satisfaction. There will be risks in execution, but the addressable market globally is large, even allowing for exclusivity in each country.
Valuing the opportunity is difficult on conventional metrics, but Ocado has eight major existing deals and can sign new ones. Although Ocado is building on 20 years of innovation, investors need to look forward another six years or so for the rewards to be clear. There are risks in execution, but Ocado has a low-cost model that could address other industries.
Its patented technology now allows a move into real-time delivery with Zoom, and over time it should grow in non-food retail. Ocado only joined the FTSE 100 in 2018, so is still in the process of attracting analyst coverage and an institutional following.
Global mid caps
Despite intense competition in most industries, some UK mid-cap companies have high value-added in supplying major global customers. AB Dynamics designs and supplies advanced testing products for the automotive industry - clients include Audi, Toyota and Tesla.
Indeed, all the largest 25 manufacturers in the world rely on AB Dynamics' test equipment. The industry has moved on from simple crash testing; it now plays a critical role in simulating complex urban environments to test autonomous driving and active safety features.
This involves lab and track testing, and AB Dynamics' close relationships with global auto groups pose an entry barrier. It has potential to make complementary acquisitions in the fields of Driving Robots and Advanced Driving Assisted Systems.