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P/E Ratios

Aug 05 2022

Additional Factors

  • Aug 5, 2022

The six-week rally that started mid-June featured advances from AAPL (+25%), AMZN (+30%), and TSLA (+39%), which accounted for one-fourth of the S&P 500’s gain. Despite the recent preference for Value, a spike in interest rates, and the bear market, the index’s concentration in the top-five firms is still near it’s all-time high set in August 2020.

Jul 08 2022

“Recessionary” Valuations?

  • Jul 8, 2022

The bear was a mere cub back in March when we examined the historical record of buying S&P 500 dips in the -10% to -12% range. “Blindly” buying them turned out to have mediocre returns, but we illustrated that the positions of various business-cycle indicators could help one determine whether or not catching the proverbial “falling knife” was warranted.

May 06 2022

Who Doesn’t Love A Sale?

  • May 6, 2022

The S&P 500 closed May 5th with a moderate 13.5% loss from its all-time high, a move that explains only part of what’s already been an historic bear market—in P/E ratios, that is.  

Jan 07 2022

New-Era Profits, New-Era P/E Multiples

  • Jan 7, 2022

The current mania won’t last forever. But our use of the “New Era” label in describing the last-quarter century or so of stock-market dynamics is still useful—in part because it highlights fundamental developments that simply cannot be repeated indefinitely. 

Jan 06 2022

A Good Year For Cheapskates

  • Jan 6, 2022

For our more fundamentally-oriented readers who are repulsed by all this talk of momentum, we have an alternative. Just forget about performance and focus solely on value!

Dec 07 2021

Our Annual Lament On Foreign Equities

  • Dec 7, 2021

There should be a name for the syndrome suffered by foreign stock investors over the last decade or so. “Groundhog Day” doesn’t quite cut it, because that event repeats only once a year. It seems like this time of year we always feature a chart showing a healthy YTD double-digit gain in the S&P 500, along with a bond-like gain in EAFE, and a bond-like gain or loss in the MSCI Emerging Markets Index.

Aug 06 2021

Big Time

  • Aug 6, 2021

Market environments are driven not just by industry preferences, but also by a bias toward the very largest companies. We have developed a new set of groups composed of the 10 largest companies from each sector. With several of these baskets sporting positive rankings, we felt a closer look was in order.

Aug 06 2021

The “Rule Of Twenty” Revisited

  • Aug 6, 2021

Pundits could reasonably argue the market has never been more expensive in light of the prevailing rate of inflation. That’s the conclusion of the “Rule of Twenty,” which proposes that the stock market’s P/E ratio and the trailing 12-month Consumer Price Inflation rate should sum up to 20.

Aug 06 2021

What If The Valuation Message Turns Out To Be Really Wrong?

  • Aug 6, 2021

Today’s Peak P/E ratio implies the S&P 500’s ten-year-forward annualized total return will be in the range of -3%. If this P/E ratio turns out to be as deceptively pessimistic as it was at its worst point in history, the S&P 500 could produce an annualized nominal total return of about +5% over the next decade. 

Jul 16 2021

A Closer Look At The “Rule Of Twenty”

  • Jul 16, 2021

Inflation and its potential impact on the stock market is the topic du jour, resurrecting ideas that were in vogue 30- to 40-years ago.

Steve Leuthold’s 1980 book, The Myths of Inflation and Investing, provided an exhaustive review of the evidence. But for lighter reading, more appropriate for a summer Friday, we revisit the “Rule of Twenty” developed by strategist Jim Moltz in the early 1980s.

Jul 08 2021

Music For The “Mania”

  • Jul 8, 2021

At some point during the June/July streak of seven-consecutive S&P 500 daily-closing highs, an album from 1980 popped into our heads: Nothin’ Matters And What If It Did—released when John Mellencamp was still known as John Cougar. It brought to mind some “nothin’s” that seem not to matter.

Dec 30 2020

Looking Forward To 2021 Earnings

  • Dec 30, 2020

As we turn the page on 2020, a peek ahead to the S&P 500’s 2021 operating earnings is probably in order. You never know, earnings and valuations might be important again one day.

 

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.

Jan 08 2020

For Value Investors Only!

  • Jan 8, 2020

With the possible diminution of “alpha” in price momentum strategies, we recommend that sector allocators consider approaches that are more countertrend or contrarian in nature.

Dec 06 2019

No Place Like Home For The 2010s

  • Dec 6, 2019

We thought we’d get a jump on all the “End of the 2010s” retrospectives you’re sure to see next month. Though not quite yet the official end of the decade, the changing of the “tens” digit definitely has a certain gravitas to it.

Oct 25 2019

Low Rates Don’t Justify Higher P/E Ratios (And U.S. Investors Should Be Glad)

  • Oct 25, 2019

The fear (or hope) that U.S. bond yields would fall to zero or below subsided over the last month. However, the belief that low yields merit significantly above-average P/E ratios remains stronger than ever.

 

Aug 07 2019

Low Vol For All Seasons?

  • Aug 7, 2019

The early August setback took the S&P 500 below its late-January 2018 high—and the time when we first trimmed net equity exposure in Leuthold tactical funds from a nearly fully-invested posture.

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 15 2019

Be Wary Of The “E” In P/E

  • Mar 15, 2019

U.S. equity valuations remain considerably higher than those of any major foreign market, but there’s no denying they’ve improved from the cyclical peak made in January 2018. That’s true across the capitalization spectrum, and on the basis of both normalized and non-normalized fundamentals.

 

Nov 07 2018

Think Halloween Is Behind Us? Beware, Zombie Alert!

  • Nov 7, 2018

“Zombie” companies are being kept alive by low interest rates and generous credit conditions, and the number of them, worldwide, has risen significantly over the past few years.

Nov 07 2018

P/E Crash!!

  • Nov 7, 2018

While this year’s liquidity squeeze has yet to exact the toll we ultimately expect on the U.S. stock mar-ket, it has certainly contributed to a sharp compression in P/E multiples.

Nov 07 2017

Revisiting The Y2K Highs

  • Nov 7, 2017

Bobby Knight thought coaching would be perfect “if it weren’t for those damned games.”

Oct 06 2017

Dialing In On Downside Risks

  • Oct 6, 2017

Question: Your “Estimating The Downside” section shows the S&P 500 would lose 26% if it reverts to its 1957-to-date median valuation level. The downside estimate for the S&P Industrials Index, however, is almost -40%. Why such a huge difference?

Jul 08 2017

Today Versus The Tech Bubble Peak

  • Jul 8, 2017

We’ve generally spoken of the market’s “broad participation” as a good thing. And from a purely technical point of view, it is.

May 05 2017

How To (Almost) Double Your Money In Under Ten Years

  • May 5, 2017

Buying the S&P 500 on one of the worst possible days in history ultimately yielded a total return of +87.4% (+6.8% annualized) through the end of April 2017...darn, sounds like an advert for Vanguard!

Sep 08 2016

A Semi-Annual Checkup!

  • Sep 8, 2016

Call off the mortician, and bring on the pediatrician for the bull market’s 7 1/2-year checkup this month.

Sep 08 2016

Same Ponds, Different Fish?

  • Sep 8, 2016

The impact of atypically-high current valuations has become a challenge for style-box investing. High quality, mature dividend payers have habitually resided in the Value and Blend boxes, but investors have bid up those valuations as they look for alternatives to low bond yields.

Aug 05 2016

No Sector On Sale...

  • Aug 5, 2016

While cap-weighted U.S. indexes remain far below their 2000 valuation highs, in some ways today’s market presents an even more difficult hurdle for value managers.

Jul 08 2016

Low Vol Divergence, Episode 3

  • Jul 8, 2016

The divergence between S&P 500 Low Volatility and High Beta Indexes has emerged for the 3rd time in a year. The 3-month performance spread is even more extreme than it had been on the eve of either the August or December stock market air pockets.

Aug 07 2014

Small Cap Premium Finally Shrinks—But Remains Historically Extreme

  • Aug 7, 2014

July’s Russell 2000 -6% rout finally deflated some of the Small Cap valuation premium we’ve been grousing about in recent years.

Jul 08 2014

Small Cap Valuation Check

  • Jul 8, 2014

Small Caps have staged a nice rebound in the last several weeks. On July 3rd, the Russell 2000 rose to within a fraction of an index point of its March 4th all-time high. But on a relative strength basis, the bounce has been pretty muted.