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Reviewing Stock Market Valuation Measures

Last update on: Feb 05 2020

For a long time I’ve said that valuation measures are good only for indicating stock market returns over the next 10 years or so. By themselves they aren’t good for tactical portfolio changes. In this article, economic Ed Yardeni reviews the history of a range of stock market valuation measures. He also adjusts them for today’s current low levels of interest rates and inflation. Yardeni concludes that stocks aren’t overvalued because it makes sense to adjust for interest rates and inflation.

Valuation ratios such as price/earnings, price/sales, and market capitalization/revenues are uniformly bearish, showing that stocks are as overvalued as they were just before the tech bubble burst in 2000. On the other hand, valuation measures that adjust for inflation and interest rates, both of which are near record lows, suggest that the market is fairly valued. They are mostly in the Goldilocks range: Not too cold, and not too hot. I have been siding with Goldilocks.

Not surprisingly, Yale Professor Robert Shiller strongly disagrees with Goldilocks. He is issuing dire warnings that stocks are as grossly overvalued as they were in 2000. The man won the Nobel Prize in economics, so he must know something. He won primarily for his work on speculative bubbles, including his book Irrational Exuberance (2000). (Goldilocks dropped out of high school, and is now doing jail time for petty larceny.)




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