The simultaneous “New Era” ascension in margins and P/E ratios hasn’t generated anything exceptional from a return perspective. To the contrary, annualized S&P 500 total returns over this 25-year period of margin magic and (mostly) escalating P/E ratios merely match “Old Era” returns.
Based on a median of six measures, today’s S&P 500 valuation profile equates to the one prevailing on August 31, 1997. From there, the S&P 500 rallied >60% over the next 2 1/2 years before peaking. However, the same can’t be said of valuation readings for the “typical” or median stock.
Last year was a solid one for the Group Selection (GS) Score approach, with the Attractive list delivering a total return of +13.1%—more than 500 basis points above The Leuthold Group Universe average, which gained only +7.9%.
The Cap Weighted S&P 500 (+4.5%) slightly outperformed the S&P 500 Equal Weighted (+4.2%) during October. YTD, the spread between these two indices remains wide, with the Equal Weighted index outperforming by 4.2%.
On a YTD basis, the spread between these two indices continues to expand, with the Equal Weighted index now outperforming by more than 4%. Consumer Staples is the most expensive sector among Large and Mid Caps, while Health Care is most expensive in Small Caps.