Posts Tagged ‘CAPE’

There are two great new papers on the global “predictiveness” of the Graham / Shiller Cyclically Adjusted Price Earnings (CAPE) ratio. The first, Value Matters: Predictability of Stock Index Returns, by Natascia Angelini, Giacomo Bormetti, Stefano Marmi, and Franco Nardini examines the ability of the CAPE to predict long-run stock market performance over several different periods in developed markets like the U.S., Belgium, France, Germany, Japan, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden and Switzerland. From the abstract:

The aim of this paper is twofold: to provide a theoretical framework and to give further empirical support to Shiller’s test of the appropriateness of prices in the stock market based on the Cyclically Adjusted Price Earnings (CAPE) ratio. We devote the first part of the paper to the empirical analysis and we show that the CAPE is a powerful predictor of future long run performances of the market not only for the U.S. but also for countries such us Belgium, France, Germany, Japan, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden and Switzerland. We show four relevant empirical facts: i) the striking ability of the logarithmic averaged earning over price ratio to predict returns of the index, with an R squared which increases with the time horizon, ii) how this evidence increases switching from returns to gross returns, iii) moving over different time horizons, the regression coefficients are constant in a statistically robust way, and iv) the poorness of the prediction when the precursor is adjusted with long term interest rate. In the second part we provide a theoretical justification of the empirical observations. Indeed we propose a simple model of the price dynamics in which the return growth depends on three components: a) a momentum component, naturally justified in terms of agents’ belief that expected returns are higher in bullish markets than in bearish ones; b) a fundamental component proportional to the log earnings over price ratio at time zero. The initial value of the ratio determines the reference growth level, from which the actual stock price may deviate as an effect of random external disturbances, and c) a driving component ensuring the diffusive behaviour of stock prices. Under these assumptions, we are able to prove that, if we consider a sufficiently large number of periods, the expected rate of return and the expected gross return are linear in the initial time value of the log earnings over price ratio, and their variance goes to zero with rate of convergence equal to minus one. Ultimately this means that, in our model, the stock prices dynamics may generate bubbles and crashes in the short and medium run, whereas for future long-term returns the valuation ratio remains a good predictor.

Figure 1 from the paper (extracted below) shows 2 year to 16 year regressions for the period 1871-2010 (Points are organized in chronological order according to the color scale ranging from dark blue to red passing through light blue, green, yellow, and orange; labels in the top left panel refer to points corresponding to the first month of the specified year.):

The second paper, Does the Shiller-PE Work in Emerging Markets? by Joachim Klement examines the reliability of CAPE as a forecasting and valuation tool for 35 countries including emerging markets. Klement finds that CAPE is a reliable long-term valuation indicator for developed and emerging markets. Klement uses the indicator to predict real returns on local equity markets over the next five to ten years (shown in Exhibits 11 and 12 extracted below):

Developed Markets

Emerging Markets

Klement makes some interesting observations about developed markets:

Looking at the forecasts for different markets the following observations stand out:

For all developed equity markets the expected real return in local currencies is positive and the probability of negative real returns after ten years is generally low.

The market with the lowest expected future return is the United States which together with Canada and Denmark promises real returns that are quite a bit lower than developed markets overall.

• Because of the low expected returns for US stock markets, an equal weighted portfolio of developed market equities is expected to perform significantly better than a typical value weighted portfolio. The current debate about optimal sector and country weights in a stock market index is still ongoing and there are many different rivaling approaches like equal weighting, fundamental weighting, GDP-weighting or equal risk contribution or minimum variance. The jury is still out which one of these approaches is the best for long-term investors, but our calculations indicate that an equal weighted portfolio should outperform a value weighted one.

• Looking at individual markets again, we see that the most attractive markets are generally the crisis-ridden European equity markets and in particular Greece which currently has such low valuations that real returns over the next five years could come close to 100%. But more stable markets like Finland, France or Germany also offer attractive long-term return possibilities.

And Klement on the emerging markets:

While the forecasts for emerging markets generally have a somewhat higher forecast error associated with them we can still observe some general trends:

Emerging market equities seem to be poised for significantly lower real returns than developed equities at the moment.

• Particularly smaller emerging countries like Peru, Colombia or Indonesia offer less attractive returns at the moment than more developed neighbors like Brazil or Thailand.

Some currently fashionable investment countries like China or India offer only average return prospects.

• From a regional perspective it seems that Eastern European countries together with Turkey and South Africa offer the highest future equity markets while Asia overall should be only average and in Latin America only Brazil seems a worthwhile investment at the moment.

H/T World Beta

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I have recently read Vitaliy Katsenelson‘s excellent The Little Book of Sideways Markets. Vitaliy’s thesis is that equity markets are characterised by periods of valuation expansion (“bull market”) and contraction (“bear market” or “sideways market”). I think it’s a compelling thesis, but I am well and truly in the choir. I’m open to counterarguments. Here’s the Cliff Notes version of Vitaliy’s thesis:

Sideways Markets

A sideways market is the result of earnings increasing while valuation drops. Historically, they are common (this is one of many charts Vitaliy provides in support of his thesis):

Equity markets are going sideways

Equity markets are presently experiencing an extended period of valuation contraction, manifesting as increasing earnings, falling cyclically adjusted price-to-earning ratios (“CAPE”) and a sideways market.

While the S&P500 TR is approximately flat for the period from December 1999 to the present, valuations have fallen 52 percent, from a CAPE of 44 in December 1999 to a CAPE of 20.56 presently (via Multpl).

Shiller PE Ratio Chart

20.56 is not cheap.

Despite over a decade of dropping valuations, a CAPE of 20.56 is presently still well-above long-term averages (the long-run mean is 16.43 and the long-run median is 15.84), indicating that the market is still 25 percent to 30 percent above those averages.

The market probably wont stop at the averages. CAPE has in the past typically fallen to a single-digit low following a cyclical peak

Sideways markets can continue for some time. The last time a sideways market traded on a CAPE of ~21 (1969) it took ~13 years to bottom (1982). The all-time peak US CAPE of 44.2 occurred in December 1999, all-time low US CAPE of 4.78 occurred in December 1920. The most recent CAPE low of 6.6 occurred in August 1982.

What Would Vitaliy Do? Buy and Sell

Vitaliy advocates a systematic approach, buying stocks that meet his “QVG” or “Quality, Value, Growth,” framework, and selling, rather than holding. He deals with this in some detail in the book.

The book is excellent. I highly recommend it. You can purchase a copy here.

Full Disclosure: I received from the publisher a copy of Vitaliy’s book gratis. I would have bought it if I had not.

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Saturna Capital has an interesting take on the calculation of the Graham / Shiller PE10, otherwise known as the Cyclically Adjusted Price Earnings ratio (CAPE). Saturna argues that The Market May Be Cheaper Than It Looks because the Consumer Price Index (CPI) provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) understates the true rate of inflation, a key input to the CAPE calculation:

Potentially Understated Inflation

Given that inflation estimates play an influential role in the calculation of the P/E10, it is important to investigate the assumptions behind the calculation of inflation. Traditionally, inflation is measured using the Consumer Price Index (CPI) provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The CPI estimates inflation by measuring fluctuations in the average price of a basket of consumer goods and services that is deemed to be typical of the average urban consumer. However, due to a variety of reasons, largely political, the methodology used to calculate CPI has undergone many changes in the past 10 to 20 years. One of the most controversial changes was to alter the composition of the basket to reflect changes in consumer behavior over time.

In doing so, the BLS hoped to remove biases that cause the CPI to overstate the true inflation rate. Former chairman of the Federal Reserve Alan Greenspan advocated this alternative methodology, arguing that if the price of steak went up, consumers would choose to eat more hamburger meat instead.² He therefore concluded that unless hamburger meat replaced steak in the basket, inflation would be overstated because consumers were not actually spending more money. Skeptics view these changes as government manipulation, the purpose of which is to understate the true inflation rate, as well as the wage and other rate increases indexed to it (think Social Security).

Saturna uses an alternative measure of inflation: the Shadow Government Statistics’ (SGS) Alternate CPI:

Over time this recalibration of the CPI has produced lower inflation estimates than the “old school” method. In fact, the discrepancy has become rather large… Unlike Mr. Greenspan, however, we prefer steak to hamburger meat. Accordingly, we tend to believe the truth lies somewhere in between the BLS’s CPI and the Shadow Government Statistics’ (SGS) Alternate CPI.

The implications for CAPE using Shadow Government CPI are as follows:

The wide gap between the government-sanctioned CPI and the Shadow Government CPI presents a competing set of assumptions about how to measure the effect of rising prices on the average consumer and the market as a whole. The relevance to investment analysts is that higher inflation figures can have a dramatic impact on the current P/E10 ratio. For example, if inflation is assumed to be 5% annually, $1 in nominal earnings from 10 years ago would be worth approximately $1.63 in today’s dollars. At 10% annually, $1 in nominal earnings from 10 years ago would be worth about $2.59 today. Using a higher inflation estimate therefore increases average real earnings over the 10-year period, and thus lowers the P/E10 ratio. If we assume the SGS figures are correct, then the current P/E10 based on the average closing price during the month of June is about 14x (see chart below). This ratio is much lower than the current P/E10 of near 20x using traditional CPI figures.

Click to View

Read the article.

Hat tip Ben Bortner.

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Smithers & Co. has updated its calculations for US market valuations according to cyclically-adjusted price earnings (CAPE) and Tobin’s q. CAPE is the Graham PE10, of which I am so fond. Tobin’s q compares the market value and replacement value of the same physical assets. Here’s Smithers & Co.’s chart:

Says Smithers & Co. of the market:

Non-financial companies, including both quoted and unquoted, were 62% overvalued according to q at 31st March 2010, when the S&P 500 index was 1169. Adjusting for the subsequent decline to 1087(10th June, 2010), the overvaluation had fallen to 50%. Revisions to data had little impact on q, with downward revision to net worth for Q4 2009 of 2.9% being offset by a downward revision to the market value of non-financial equities of 2.1%. Net worth for Q1 2010 fell slightly as equity buy-backs exceeded profit retentions.

The listed companies in the S&P 500 index, which include financials, were 58% overvalued at 31st March 2010, according to our calculations for CAPE, based on the data from Professor Robert Shiller’s website. Adjusting for the subsequent decline to 1087 (10th June, 2010), the overvaluation had fallen 46%. (It should be noted that we use geometric rather than arithmetic means in our calculations.)

H/T ZeroHedge.

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