Posts Tagged ‘Graham P/E10’

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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Meb Faber’s World Beta has a great series of posts on  Graham / Shiller PEs globally as at May 24:

Meb says:

If you look at the history of country CAPEs, they tend to bottom out in single digits around 7. Bull markets can push this number up into the 40s, with the median around 18. These may be slightly skewed by most of these markets being in existence since 1970. (Note: All time lows register at 3 (Thailand and Korea) and top out near 100 (Japan).

Belgium, Netherlands, France, Spain, Russia, and Italy are all trading at CAPEs below 10. Generational buying opportunity or prelude to more pain?

The market has moved a little since Meb posted these. The S&0 500 stands this morning at 20.66, down from 21.76 on May 24. It’s still well above its long term mean of 15.48, and median of 14.45.

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While the WSJ is prepared to consign the PE ratio to the dustbin (see The Decline of the P/E Ratio and Is It Time to Scrap the Fusty Old P/E Ratio?) Barry Ritholtz is one of the few actually asking the question, “What does a falling P/E ratio mean?

Ritholz focuses on the expansion and contraction of the PE ratio as indicative of bull or bear markets:

We can define Bull and Bear markets over the past 100 years in terms of P/E expansion and contraction. I always show the chart below when I give speeches (from Crestmont Research, my annotations in blue) to emphasize the impact of crowd psychology on valautions.

Consider the message of this chart. It strongly suggests (at least to me) the following:

Bull markets are periods of P/E expansion. During Bulls, investors are willing to pay increasingly more for each dollar of earnings;

Bear markets are periods of P/E contraction. Investors demand more earnings for each dollar of share price they are willing to pay.

Hence, a falling P/E ratio is not indicia of its lack of utility. Nor is it proof of “Fustyness.” Rather, it suggests that crowd is still feeling burned by the recent collapse in prices and increase in volatility.

Here’s the chart:

I think Ritholz’s analysis is excellent as far as it goes, but I think it misses part of the story. The “E” in the PE ratio is also subject to expansion and contraction over the course of the business cycle. Earnings are still normalizing from a period of massive expansion. While the single-year market PE might be at 15.8, which is a little over the long-term average of 15, on a cyclically-adjusted basis, the PE ratio is over 20, which is historically expensive:

Click to View

Assuming that this time is not different, earnings will contract as they regress to the long-term mean, and the market PE ratio will contract along with earnings.

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The wonderful blog has a post, Is the stock market cheap?, examining the S&P500 using Benjamin Graham’s P/E10 ratio. Doug Short describes the raison d’être of the Graham P/E10 ratio thus:

Legendary economist and value investor Benjamin Graham noticed the same bizarre P/E behavior during the Roaring Twenties and subsequent market crash. Graham collaborated with David Dodd to devise a more accurate way to calculate the market’s value, which they discussed in their 1934 classic book, Security Analysis. They attributed the illogical P/E ratios to temporary and sometimes extreme fluctuations in the business cycle. Their solution was to divide the price by the 10-year average of earnings, which we’ll call the P/E10. In recent years, Yale professor Robert Shiller, the author of Irrational Exuberance, has reintroduced the P/E10 to a wider audience of investors. …  The historic P/E10 average is 16.3.

Here’s the chart from to April 1st:

So what is the P/E10 ratio now saying about the market? In short, the market is expensive. The ratio has entered the most expensive quintile, which means it is more expensive than it has been 80% of the time. What are the implications for this? In his most recent Popular Delusions (via Zero Hedge), Dylan Grice has provided the following chart setting out the expected returns using each valuation quintile as an entry point:

Grice says:

If history is any guide, those investing today can expect a whopping 1.7% annualised return over the next ten years.

Doug Short has a more frightening conclusion:

A more cautionary observation is that every time the P/E10 has fallen from the first to the fourth quintile, it has ultimately declined to the fifth quintile and bottomed in single digits. Based on the latest 10-year earnings average, to reach a P/E10 in the high single digits would require an S&P 500 price decline below 540. Of course, a happier alternative would be for corporate earnings to make a strong and prolonged surge. When might we see the P/E10 bottom? These secular declines have ranged in length from over 19 years to as few as three. The current decline is now in its tenth year.

Or was March 2009 the beginning of a secular bull market? Perhaps, but the history of market valuations doesn’t encourage optimism.

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