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Valuations

Jan 08 2020

A Spectacularly Average Thirty Years

  • Jan 8, 2020

In the spirit of good holiday cheer, we made a partial concession to the True Believers with a December “Chart of the Week” in which we narrowed our stock market valuation analysis to the historically elevated levels of last 30 years.

Jan 08 2020

A Blast From The Past

  • Jan 8, 2020

With 2020 representing The Leuthold Group’s 40th year of publishing Perception For The Professional, we perused the first few Green Books for relevant nuggets from 1981, but the backdrop could not have been more different. Therefore, we instead turned the clock back 20 years, thinking it might yield insights more resonant with today’s environment.

Jan 08 2020

A New Year, Or A Blast From The Past?

  • Jan 8, 2020

It was during the very first days of the great 2019 market rally that we noted its similarities to the bubbliest of all the bubble years—1999. Wow. We had it in our hands and frittered it away.

Jan 07 2020

Industry Returns: The Decade’s Winners & Losers

  • Jan 7, 2020

This “decade in review” edition examines the performance of sectors and industries, looking at the best and worst groups to reveal the stories they have to tell.

Dec 20 2019

Valuations: An Updated “Modern” Take

  • Dec 20, 2019

An occasional critique of our valuation work is that we consider “too much” market history to form a judgment as to what constitutes “high” or “low.” This type of feedback declined during and after the financial crisis (when historic valuation thresholds were temporarily revisited), but it has become more pointed as the U.S. market has soared to new highs.

 

Dec 18 2019

A Small Cap Strategy Session

  • Dec 18, 2019

Leuthold’s research team has recently flagged a number of items that suggest it may be time to consider small cap stocks. This asset class has been showing signs of life and the decision to overweight small caps is starting to seem relevant – and perhaps nicely profitable - again.

Dec 06 2019

A New Take On Small Cap Valuations

  • Dec 6, 2019

For valuation work, we’ve traditionally favored the 1,200 company Leuthold Small Cap universe over the S&P SmallCap 600 because we get almost a full additional decade of perspective. But figures for the latter shed extra light on just how significant the revaluation in Small Caps has been.

Dec 06 2019

A “Best Case” Bear Scenario?

  • Dec 6, 2019

We intentionally curtailed our discussion of stock market valuations the last few months to allow the “dead horse” to recover from the thrashings administered in recent years. Now we’re rested, refreshed, and ready to deliver a few more lashes.

Nov 20 2019

Taking A Punt On U.K. Stocks?

  • Nov 20, 2019

The June 2016 Brexit referendum kicked off a tortured process for the United Kingdom to leave the European Union. However, the wheels of international politics turn slowly, and the original date of formal withdrawal was set as March 29, 2019. As the calendar rolled into 2019 it became obvious that the March closing date was not going to be met, and concerns mounted over delays, procedures, deal-or-no-deal, a new prime minister, and even calls for another vote.

Sep 07 2019

Commodity Stocks: “Low” But Not Cheap

  • Sep 7, 2019

A general rule of thumb for thematic equity investors is that the dominant leadership sectors and groups in a given bull market normally don’t repeat as leaders in the subsequent bull.

Aug 15 2019

Can Equity Investors Eat Their Cake And Have It Too?

  • Aug 15, 2019

Investor sentiment seems to be unusually conflicted these days. There are worries aplenty, including numerous political skirmishes of consequence around the world, a slowing global economy, and lofty U.S. equity valuations. On the other hand, fiscal stimulus is high for this stage in an economic cycle and the Fed is easing monetary policy, two policy drivers it rarely pays to bet against.

May 07 2019

Commodity Stocks: More Of The Same

  • May 7, 2019

Someone forgot to tell commodity trades this is an era of diversity of inclusivity: This year’s leap in the S&P/Goldman Sachs Commodity Index has been entirely the result of its heavily-weighted energy inputs.

May 07 2019

Adding EM On A Rent-To-Own Basis

  • May 7, 2019

The Major Trend Index has remained in neutral territory during the last several weeks of upside action, suggesting there remain significant fundamental and technical shortcomings beneath it all. But this precarious MTI stance didn’t preclude us from acting on a new bullish reading for Emerging Market equities at the end of April.
 

Apr 05 2019

Small Cap Biotech Getting Pricey Again

  • Apr 5, 2019

In May 2015, we warned about rich valuations for small cap Biotech stocks and looked at various ways to evaluate those companies, as the majority have no approved drugs on the market, thus no revenue; therefore, valuing these companies using the conventional methodology is problematic.

Apr 05 2019

The “Breakout” And Its Aftermath

  • Apr 5, 2019

A common criticism of our long-term valuation work is that valuations shifted north into a new trading range during the 1990s, meaning Leuthold’s benchmarks (dating back to 1957 and earlier) are no longer relevant.

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.

 

Mar 07 2019

A Scary Chart, Revisited

  • Mar 7, 2019

For a couple years, we’ve labeled the S&P 500 Price/Sales ratio as the scariest chart in the Leuthold database, and last year’s decline did little to improve its intimidating appearance.

Mar 07 2019

The Emerging Markets Dilemma

  • Mar 7, 2019

We’ve been either light on Emerging Market stocks or out of them altogether since early 2011, but have lately been watching for an opportune time to re-enter.

Mar 07 2019

The Correction In Historical Context

  • Mar 7, 2019

While it’s too early to let the ink dry on the accompanying table and chart, we’ve decided to add last year’s decline for comparative purposes.

Feb 07 2019

New Year, Old Leadership

  • Feb 7, 2019

We’ve written at length about a bear market’s tendency to catalyze major leadership changes—across sectors, styles, and even geographies.

Feb 07 2019

“Four Corners” Cloud Plays

  • Feb 7, 2019

The Social/Mobile/Cloud theme (SMC) has dominated the stock market in recent years, eventually reaching a frenzied peak in the summer of 2018.

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.

Jan 11 2019

Characteristics Of Major Market Lows

  • Jan 11, 2019

We wrote in the January Green Book that the S&P 500 Christmas Eve low did not have the “right look,” in that: (1) there had been no sign of “smart money” accumulation beforehand; and, (2) downside momentum was also at a new low for the entire correction. Smart money buying is measured by the Smart Money Flow Index, which evaluates trends in first half-hour market action (considered to be more emotional and news-driven), and the last hour of trading (viewed to be more informed and institutional in nature).

Jan 08 2019

Bridesmaid Strategy - Valuations

  • Jan 8, 2019

Momentum strategies aren’t for everyone. Still, contrarians should recognize that buying the prior year’s worst performing sector for a one-year hold has been an underperforming proposition over the long term.

Jan 08 2019

Guess-timating The Downside

  • Jan 8, 2019

While our market disciplines remain negative, we certainly aren’t oblivious to the haircut in equity valuations that’s already occurred.

Dec 07 2018

Low Vol For All Seasons?

  • Dec 7, 2018

The S&P 500 Low Volatility Index has performed so well for so long that the ETF based on the index has amassed more than $8 billion.

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.

Oct 05 2018

Estimating The Downside: The G-Rated Version

  • Oct 5, 2018

The longevity of this bull market is impacting tactical asset allocators in ways great and small.

Sep 08 2018

S&P 500—Valuation Check-Up

  • Sep 8, 2018

In late January we speculated how long it would take for the S&P 500’s bloated valuations to reach more reasonable levels. The S&P 500 now trades back where it was in January and the seven-month break included some of the best growth rates most have ever seen. We found ourselves asking: Did chubby Mr. Market shed any pounds as he pedaled away on his stationary bike?

Sep 08 2018

Fondly Remembering The Year 2000...

  • Sep 8, 2018

Many equity investors have suggested there’s no comparison between today’s expensive market and the bubble peak of Y2K, pointing out that today’s Technology titans are “real companies” with massive revenue underpinnings.

Sep 08 2018

Beware The Breakout

  • Sep 8, 2018

The S&P 500 finally erased the losses from its nine-day swoon in January and February.

Aug 07 2018

Assessing The Correction

  • Aug 7, 2018

How do today’s cyclical conditions stack up with those accompanying other stock market declines? 

Jul 07 2018

An Old Chart Whose Time Has Come?

  • Jul 7, 2018

No, it’s not a 1990s-like love affair with the stock market. But it’s surely a sign of the times when TV pundits seem to have dropped even passing references to valuation when spinning their mostly bullish market yarns.

Jun 29 2018

Emerging Markets: Down A Lot, But Not Really Cheap

  • Jun 29, 2018

The stock market liquidity squeeze we’ve discussed this year hasn’t played out quite like we expected. Traditionally, Fed tightening and slowing money growth hit Small Caps earlier, and harder, than the blue chip stocks...

Jun 22 2018

Altitudes Are Too High— And Attitudes Are Getting There

  • Jun 22, 2018

An important feature of this bull market—and a reason for its longevity—is the slow recovery in investor attitudes relative to valuation altitudes...

Jun 07 2018

Is The Bull Just Napping?

  • Jun 7, 2018

Old age has certainly put no limitations on the bull’s exploits, so we should be cautious in reading too much into its meandering recovery path. However, it’s possible that action since the February low is not a recovery process but rather a countertrend bounce within a larger downtrend.

Feb 07 2018

Multiple Contraction—Just A Little Patience?

  • Feb 7, 2018

Things were bigger when you were a kid. Like that enormous sweatshirt your aunt gave you for your birthday or that hand-me-down ten-speed bike with the cross bar taller than your shoulders.

Feb 07 2018

Most Likely Just A Correction

  • Feb 7, 2018

So, what happened to the January Barometer—the old analyst’s maxim that a market gain in January portends a gain for the full year?

Jan 06 2018

Estimating The Upside?

  • Jan 6, 2018

The remarkable stock market breadth and momentum chronicled in these pages doesn’t come without a price.

Dec 07 2017

Value: Scarcer Than In 2000

  • Dec 7, 2017

Comparing current valuations to March 2000 is unfair to March 2000. Any Value or Small Cap manager from that era can attest that values became more plentiful as the S&P ascended into its narrow peak.