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Normalized P/E

May 05 2023

A G-Rated Take On Valuations

  • May 5, 2023

In the wake of the 2020-21 mania, any dose of valuation sanity is obviously greeted with eye-rolls. We are going out of our way to present the numbers in the least-shocking way possible.

Apr 07 2023

QE Fuels Inequality—Even Among Stocks

  • Apr 7, 2023

We don’t know enough about banking-system mechanics to conclude if the Fed’s balance-sheet increase associated with March’s bank bailout constitutes a new round of QE. But if it is, we’re skeptical equity investors should celebrate it. In fact, those running Small-Cap portfolios should probably fear it!

Mar 07 2023

In The “Eye” Of The Beholder

  • Mar 7, 2023

Stocks could trade higher in the next few months as CPI numbers enjoy easy year-to-year comparisons, prompting a more soothing tone in daily Fed-speak. Then again, the lagged impact of the last year’s rate hikes and balance-sheet shrinkage has yet to materialize, meaning we’re likely in the eye of the storm.

Jan 07 2023

A One-Hundred-Year Market Echo

  • Jan 7, 2023

Hopes that this decade might see a repeat of the “Roaring Twenties” took a hit last year. But there’s plenty of time to recover, and bulls will be encouraged to learn that cumulative stock market performance for this decade, thus far, is better than at the same point in the Roaring 1920s.  

Nov 05 2022

Thoughts On The Secular Outlook

  • Nov 5, 2022

Some have speculated that 2022 might have been the kick-off for a decade-long era in which the broad stock market indexes will make essentially no progress, like 1966-1982. However, that earlier experience provided opportunities within other market segments, which will also stand a much better chance in coming years. 

Oct 07 2022

A Valuation Check-Up

  • Oct 7, 2022

The P/E multiple on Trailing Peak GAAP EPS has plunged 44% from its year-ago peak of 32.5x. The current ratio of 18.1x is below its “New Era” median (1995-to-date) —but some conditions characterizing the New Era no longer apply.

Sep 30 2022

Time To Retire The Fed Model?

  • Sep 30, 2022

We’ve heard no references lately to the famous “Fed Model” for stock market valuation. We think we know why: The model’s usual proponents probably don’t like its current verdict—which is that stocks are far more expensive than at the early January market peak.

Aug 05 2022

Valuations: Living Beyond One’s Means?

  • Aug 5, 2022

We won’t dispute that investors were not genuinely frightened at the June market lows, or that fears have evaporated following a 13% rally in the S&P 500. The distress is understandable: For 26 traumatizing days in 2022, our S&P 500 Normalized P/E multiple traded below its 1957-to-date top decile!

Feb 05 2021

Normalize This!

  • Feb 5, 2021

The sell-side is at it again, publishing a one-year ahead “Adjusted” EPS figure for the S&P 500 that is unlikely to be achieved—and then affixing P/E multiples seen near an historic market peak to “capitalize” on those unlikely earnings.

Jan 08 2021

What If It’s Just A “Median” Bull?

  • Jan 8, 2021

Last spring and summer, we were incorrectly skeptical that a new bull had been born only five weeks after the death of oldest bull ever. But be careful with labels. Just as the “bear market” mindset caused us to overplay our hand last spring, equity bulls should not assume the current bull will look anything like the decade-long affairs we’ve seen twice in the last 30 years.

Dec 05 2020

Super-Rarified Air

  • Dec 5, 2020

The 2020 post-election stock surge looks and feels a lot like the 2016 “Trump Bump.” But, of course there’s a spoiler. The Biden Bump started with a Normalized P/E level about 30% higher than the one prevailing on election eve of 2016 (26.8x versus 20.5x, respectively). 

Sep 05 2020

Does An Economic Rebound “Inoculate” The Stock Market?

  • Sep 5, 2020

The 2020 decline exhibits a strong resemblance to the “incomplete” bear market of March 2000-September 2001—in that neither decline sufficiently deflated the extreme valuations of the preceding bull, and each was followed by an immediate rebound in reliable valuation measures to top decile levels.

Aug 06 2020

Implications Of The “Breakout”

  • Aug 6, 2020

July’s developments led to us investigate the market valuations accompanying all past month-end S&P 500 breakouts which (1) eclipsed the prior month-end bull market high; and (2) made a new all-time high in the process.

Jun 19 2020

It’s Demographics, Stupid! (Not The Economy.)

  • Jun 19, 2020

Turn on financial television at any random time, and you’re likely to soon hear the argument that still-high U.S. stock market valuations are “justified” by extremely-low interest rates. We’ve countered that these low U.S. rates are simply a reflection of the secular slowdown in economic and earnings growth.

Jun 05 2020

“Normalizing” For The Earnings Collapse

  • Jun 5, 2020

Stocks (and more specifically, U.S. blue chips) did not fully (nor even approximately) discount the economic calamity. The result is that, in just over two months, the “baby bull”—if that’s what it is—has achieved what took his legendary predecessor more than eight years to accomplish: Top 25x on our Normalized P/E.

May 07 2020

Calculate The Next Low... With The Last Peak?

  • May 7, 2020

How does one value a stock market in which 12-month forward EPS estimates show their widest dispersion in history? A good start might be with methods we use when forward estimates show practically no dispersion (like three months ago). In either case, we place little weight on such estimates; each revision usually has only marginal impact on our 5-Year Normalized EPS.

Jan 10 2020

The Stock Market Is Trading Like Trump’s A Democrat!

  • Jan 10, 2020

Around the time of Donald Trump’s inauguration in January 2017, we observed that prevailing valuations argued against him witnessing big stock market gains during his first term.

Dec 13 2019

How Much Should We Pay For Market Momentum?

  • Dec 13, 2019

If the S&P 500 closes in the green today, an RSI "overbought" signal will be triggered.

Jun 07 2019

The Small Cap Discount Deepens

  • Jun 7, 2019

Small Caps typically underperform during a bull market’s final phase, and our findings with respect to the Output Gap aid our understanding of that phenomenon.

Mar 01 2019

Assessing The Cyclical Risks

  • Mar 1, 2019

With all the excitement over the Fed’s shift in rhetoric and the excellent subsequent market action, there’s a danger of losing sight of the broader cyclical backdrop for U.S. stocks. Remember, the economy is still operating beyond government estimates of its full-employment potential, and it’s not as if the Fed has actually eased policy—as it did successfully at a similar late-cycle juncture in the fall of 1998 and (ultimately unsuccessfully) in the summer of 2007.

Jan 25 2019

The Trump Trade, Two Years In

  • Jan 25, 2019

Donald Trump is thought to have been born with a silver spoon in his mouth, and the economic circumstances prevailing at his inauguration two years ago might have further perpetuated that view. The U.S. economy had already been in recovery mode for 7 1/2 years, and the bull market in U.S. stocks was about to celebrate its eighth birthday.

Dec 07 2018

The Downside Leaders Look Familiar

  • Dec 7, 2018

It wouldn’t be a December Green Book without at least one page of hand-wringing over the year’s extreme underperformance of foreign stocks.

Nov 07 2018

Emerging Markets: Not Persevering, Just “Preserving”

  • Nov 7, 2018

We’ll never know how world events might have evolved had Mitt Romney won the presidential election in 2012. But thanks to the wonderment of Emerging Markets’ underperformance, we can go right back to the last days preceding that fateful election.

Oct 05 2018

The Two-Tiered Global Market

  • Oct 5, 2018

We should emphasize that our characterization of stocks as dangerously overvalued applies only to the U.S. market.

Mar 15 2018

Foreign Stocks: What Will Turn The Tide?

  • Mar 15, 2018

After a brief respite last year, EAFE has reverted to its old form by falling 300 basis points behind the S&P 500 so far in 2018. EAFE’s main transgression might simply be that it represents good relative value in a market that’s been rewarding only momentum...

Mar 07 2018

Leverage Factor: A Boost For High Quality Stocks?

  • Mar 7, 2018

A review of Quality factors, as well as the lower valuations of High Quality stocks, supports the current High Quality cycle amid rising market volatility. The Leverage factor may provide particularly strong backing for High Quality stocks.

Mar 07 2018

Nine Corrections In Nine Years

  • Mar 7, 2018

The stock market’s nine-day decline off its January 26th high met our definition of an intermediate correction—an S&P 500 loss of between 7-12%.

Nov 07 2017

Cap Weight Or Equal Weight?

  • Nov 7, 2017

The Equal Weighted S&P 500 now trails the S&P 500 by 400 basis points YTD, and the rally is increasingly assailed as too narrow.

Nov 07 2017

Small Cap Valuation Check

  • Nov 7, 2017

We don’t have a strong capitalization-bet recommendation, other than to remind readers that Small Caps have been especially responsive to the favorable seasonal window that began November 1st (and which extends through April 30th).

Sep 08 2017

Could It Be A “Two-Fer?”

  • Sep 8, 2017

The milestones achieved by the current cyclical bull market have been so numerous that we hope you’ll forgive us for missing one back in May.

Dec 07 2016

America’s Already First...

  • Dec 7, 2016

Thanks to the U.S. dollar’s recent spike, foreign equities in dollar terms declined during November while the U.S. markets were celebrating a Trump victory. Thirty-nine of the 49 MSCI country indexes are in bear market territory from the perspective of a dollar-based investor.

Nov 05 2016

Has The Fed Already Hit Stocks?

  • Nov 5, 2016

One never appreciates what he or she has until it’s gone. In our case, during the many years it was freely available, we failed to appreciate the zero interest rate. Now that it’s gone, we already feel pressured to join a game where we (and very few others) have any edge: Fed-watching. Our real edge is that we recognize this.

Jul 08 2016

Low Quality Dominance Since March

  • Jul 8, 2016

After two rough months moving into 2016, Low Quality stocks rallied and are now leading High Quality stocks YTD. Investors apparently brushed-off the slowdown scare from China, and later the Brexit headlines.

May 06 2016

Small Caps: The P/E Premium Lives On…

  • May 6, 2016

Small Cap valuations may look better on a relative price-to-book basis, but we still believe their Normalized P/E ratios will suffer further compression before Small Caps reclaim the leadership baton.

Feb 05 2016

The Bullish Case: A Mental Exercise

  • Feb 5, 2016

We’ve been correctly positioned near our tactical portfolios’ equity minimums, yet we’re oddly compelled to use this month’s “Of Special Interest” section as a very public second-guessing of that move.

Jan 08 2016

Small Cap P/E Ratios: Not Yet Low Enough

  • Jan 8, 2016

When the Fed surreptitiously began to tighten as we believe (via tapering), in January 2014, history suggested that Consumer Discretionary and Small Caps would be the most likely initial market victims (at least from a relative perspective).

Oct 07 2015

Valuations: The Bad And The Good

  • Oct 7, 2015

Foreign valuations experienced nowhere near the expansion enjoyed by U.S. stocks during the latest bull market, but their cheaper valuations rarely seem to inoculate them from outsized losses during corrections and bear markets.

Sep 09 2015

The EM "Trap"

  • Sep 9, 2015
We expect EM valuations will undercut their 2008 lows before the current market decline has run its course. That washout might serve up the best stock market bargains in many years.
Aug 07 2015

Minding The Gaps

  • Aug 7, 2015

We think stock market action in the next few months will provide the Fed with an excuse to skip any rate increase in 2015. But our view is a minority one, and futures’ market odds on a September increase shot up in early August. Either way, the obsession over the timing of a Fed rate hike ignores the fact that world P/E ratios are already contracting—at least on the basis of our 5-Year Normalized EPS.

Aug 07 2015

Emerging Markets: A Half-Off Sale!

  • Aug 7, 2015

The Chinese government’s repeated stock market intervention attempts over the past several weeks have been remarkable, and obviously antithetical to the country’s move toward a more laissez faire corporate environment.