Posts Tagged ‘P/E Ratio’

STOCKS ARE CHEAP, BUT THIS METRIC DOESN’T WORK?

STOCKS ARE CHEAP, BUT THIS METRIC DOESN’T WORK?

Courtesy of The Pragmatic Capitalist 

WHEN PEOPLE THINK OF IMPORTANT JOBS THAT CAN NOT BE LEFT OUT OF OUR LIVES THEY DO NOT NORMALLY THINK OF WASTE COLLECTORS. BUT DURING A HAULERS STRIKE GARBAGE PILES UP AND BEGINS TO SMELL. THERE IS NOWHERE TO PLACE IT ALL AND PESTS RUN RAMPANT AS THEIR AVAILABLE FOOD BECOMES ABUNDANT. DUMPSTERS OVERFILLED TRASH WASTE HAULER STRIKE

I’ll be frank – I have a special place in my heart for the PE ratio and it is the same place where all the things I hate are stored.  This simple to understand metric has, in my opinion, resulted in more misguided Wall Street thinking than just about any metric in existence.  A quick glance at the breakdown of the PE ratio shows serious flaws at work here.  It is basically a moving price target (which is never correct unless you still believe in EMH) divided by the earnings estimates that are created by analysts who have literally no idea where future earnings will be.  In other words, you might as well pick random numbers out of a hat and divide them and then go buy or sell stocks.  Naturally, proponents of the PE ratio will say that you shouldn’t use forward PE’s, but to those people I have to respond: do you always drive through your rear view mirror?  The numerator (or market price in the PE equation) could care less about past earnings so it’s less than helpful in telling us where future prices might go.

What disgusts me even more about this metric is its incessant use in selling buy and hold strategies.  You can’t read a book on value investing or buy and hold without running into the PE ratio.  “The market is cheap – stocks for the long-run!”  You’ve probably seen this slogan on every mutual fund pamphlet you’ve ever read.  Your stock broker no doubt thinks the market is “cheap” right now.  The PE ratio has become the sales pitch of an entire generation of sales people who are just herding small investors into fee based products.  “Did you know Warren Buffet is a value investor?”  “Just buy cheap stocks and hang on.  Your status on the list of the world’s richest is in the making!”  Or so goes the old sales pitch.

So, I wasn’t surprised to open Yahoo Finance this morning to see the following headline arguing that stocks are cheap according to the PE ratio.  But just two articles down is an article from the WSJ arguing that the PE ratio doesn’t work in this environment.  You can’t make this stuff up.  According to the article:

“Not only is the P/E


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P/E Ratio: Deflators and the LONG Term

P/E Ratio: Deflators and the LONG Term

Courtesy of Jake at Econompic Data 

Doug Kass via The Street (hat tip Abnormal Returns):

There exists numerous price/earning multiple deflators and non traditional headwinds to growth. These factors don’t necessarily prevent an extended bull market, but they will most certainly deflate price/earnings multiples and put a cap on the market’s upside potential:

  • rising taxes
  • fiscal imbalances in federal, state and local governments;
  • the absence of drivers to replace the prior cycle’s strength in residential and nonresidential construction
  • the long tail of the last credit cycle (Greece, Portugal, Spain, etc.)
  • inept and partisan politics

Lets take this concept and look at how it fits in over the LONG term (i.e. based on history, do we seem extended). The chart below shows the CAPE (Professor Shiller’s Cyclically Adjusted Price / Earnings Ratio), as well as the twenty year average of the same going back 100 years to 1910 (actually, the 20 year average data goes all the way back to 1890).

historical p/e ratios

Note that in previous cycles we have seen the CAPE move well below 10 at the low, whereas this cycle "only" hit a low of 13 in March ’09. Interestingly enough, that 13 CAPE ratio is higher than each of the three 20 year average lows, seen at each low point throughout the last century. 

 


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Analyzing Corporate Margins As S&P500 Free Cash Flows Hits Record

Pragcap examined the same phenomenon this morning from a different perspective, that of earnings season surprises. – Ilene 

Analyzing Corporate Margins As S&P500 Free Cash Flows Hits Record 

Courtesy of Tyler Durden at Zero Hedge 

In the recent multiple expansion run up, one of the largely ignored factors has been the dramatic rise in corporate margins, be they Gross Profit, EBITDA, Net Income or unlevered Free Cash Flow. Of course, all this has been a function of massive cuts in corporate overhead as most companies have laid off the bulk of their workers, resulting in a seemingly stronger bottom line. In the meantime, assorted stimulus programs by the government have prevented revenues from crashing, thus boosting EPS, on both a historical and a projected basis.

We demonstrate the dramatic surge in margins by scouring through the S&P 500 companies over the past 3 years, and question just how sustainable this margin pick up is. As more and more analysts predict that future margin expansion is sure to drive the market higher, we can’t help but wonder 1) with stimulus benefits expiring and excess liquidity approaching an inflection point (especially in China) who will keep the top line strong, 2) as companies are forced, as a result, to hire more workers in order to drive sales, how will operating margins maintain their stellar performance, and 3) how will a decline in margins be justified from a multiple expansion standpoint. Lastly, we parse through the thoughts of William Hester of Hussman funds, who has some very critical observations on this very relevant topic.

As the chart below demonstrates, virtually every margin metric is now trading at or above its 3 year average.

One notable observation is the unlevered Free Cash Flow margin, which at 12.6% is now at a recent record. We have preciously discussed how companies have extracted major cash concession by squeezing net working capital, which is likely a factor in the disproportionate rise in FCF margins relative to all other metrics. The immediate result of this cash conservation has been of course the dramatic increase in corporate cash balances, which some have speculated is merely in anticipation of much higher corporate tax rates down the line, as well as general austerity as the reality of America’s insolvency trickes down to individual corporations.

The take home here is that margins have likely little room left to grow. This is especially true…
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IS THE MARKET FAIRLY VALUED?

Pragcap shares a tool he uses to answer the question, 

IS THE MARKET FAIRLY VALUED?

Courtesy of The Pragmatic Capitalist

Maria Shriver's 2008 Women's Conference

I’ve long argued that most valuation metrics are fraught with pitfalls that the average investor too often falls for.  What is often described as “value” is too often a bloated price divided by some analyst’s guesstimate.  The myth of “value” and the dream of becoming the next Warren Buffett (see the many myths of Warren Buffett here) has resulted in untold stock market losses over the decades and/or misconceptions of adding “value” to a portfolio that most likely doesn’t outperform a correlating index fund after taxes and fees. Nonetheless, the PE ratio and other faulty valuation metrics remain one of the primary sources of investment strategists, stock pickers and market researchers.

While I am no fan of valuation metrics, I do happen to be a student and believer of mean reversion.  In an effort to attach a “value” to this market I’ve used an old Jeremy Grantham tool to see where we are today.  Grantham is a big believer in the cycle of corporate profits and specifically profit margins.  As regular readers know, one of the primary reasons why we have been bullish ahead of the past 5 earnings seasons was due to the expansion in corporate margins and very low analyst expectations.  Analysts became extremely negative in Q4 2008 and severely underestimated the pace at which companies were able to cut costs and support the bottom line.  This stabilization in corporate margins set the table for the massive rally in stocks as profits continued to expand at a far faster pace than anyone expected.

Corporate margins are extremely cyclical.  As companies expand their businesses and revenues grow they are able to better manage their costs, hire personnel, etc.  But if the economy weakens for any number of reasons revenues will contract, costs will remain high and margins will ultimately contract.  Businesses are then forced to cut costs in order to salvage profits.  In other words, margins are constantly expanding and contracting with the business cycle around the mean.

Over the last 50 years corporate profit margins (corporate profits/GDP) have averaged 9.5%.  If we multiply GDP by the average margin growth we can create a long-term trend of what corporate profits should look like.  We can then compare actual corporate profits to this result in an effort to see whether…
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DEEP THOUGHTS FROM DAVID ROSENBERG

DEEP THOUGHTS FROM DAVID ROSENBERG

Courtesy of The Pragmatic Capitalist

Rosey was really on point yesterday with these excellent thoughts:

We realize that the nerdy economics term of “The Great Recession” has already been coined, but let’s face facts — this was not a recession, nor was it great. It was not the Great Depression, either, but it was (is, in fact) a depression. So let’s call it the “Not So Great Depression”.

Now what makes a depression different than a recession is that depressions follow a period of wild credit excess, and when the bubble bursts and the wheels begin to move in reverse, we are in a depression. A recession is a correction in real GDP in the context of a secular expansion, which is what all prior nine of them were, back to 1945. But this was not a mere blip in real GDP — it is a post-bubble credit collapse. This is not a garden-variety recession at all, which an economic downturn triggered by an inflation-fighting Fed and excessive manufacturing inventories. A depression is all about deflating asset values and contracting private sector credit. In a recession, monetary and fiscal policy works, even if the lags can be long. In a depression, they do not work. And this is what we see today.

The stock market typically rolls over shortly after the last Fed rate hike at any given cycle. That didn’t happen this time. The Fed last hiked rates in the summer of 2006 and yet the stock market didn’t peak until after the first rate CUT … that does not happen in a normal cycle.

Even with a 0% funds rate, the economy could still not turn around, and that is exactly what happened in the 1930s in the U.S. and in the 1990s in Japan. When the central bank takes rates to zero and that does not do the trick in helping the economy or the markets find the bottom, and then has to engage in an array of experimental strategies and radically expand its balance sheet, then you know you are in a depression.

Moreover, when, a year after the onset of quantitative easing, we see money velocity and the money multipliers still in decline, then you also know that the liquidity is not being re-circulated in the real economy but perhaps finding


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Make Sure You Get This One Right

Make Sure You Get This One Right

Courtesy of John Mauldin, Outside the Box at Investors Insight

There are those who sweat over every decision, worrying about how it will affect their lives and investments. Then there is the school of thought that we should focus on the big decisions. I am of the latter school.

85% of investment returns are a result of asset class allocations and only 15% come from actually picking investment within the asset class. Getting the big picture right is critical. In this week’s Outside the Box we look at a very well written essay about the biggest of all question in front of us today. Do we face deflation or inflation?

This OTB is by my good friends and business partners in London, Niels Jensen and his team at Absolute Return Partners. I have worked closely with Niels for years and have found him to be one of the more savvy observers of the markets I know. You can see more of his work at www.arpllp.com and contact them at info@arpllp.com.

John Mauldin, Editor
Outside the Box


Make Sure You Get This One Right

By Niels C. Jensen

"You can’t beat deflation in a credit-based system."

Robert Prechter

Paul VolckerAs investors we are faced with the consequences of our decisions every single day; however, as my old mentor at Goldman Sachs frequently reminded me, in your life time, you won’t have to get more than a handful of key decisions correct – everything else is just noise. One of those defining moments came about in August 1979 when inflation was out of control and global stock markets were being punished. Paul Volcker was handed the keys to the executive office at the Fed. The rest is history.

Now, fast forward to July 2009 and we (and that includes you, dear reader!) are faced with another one of those ‘make or break’ decisions which will effectively determine returns over the next many years. The question is a very simple one:

Are we facing a deflationary spiral or will the monetary and fiscal stimulus ultimately create (hyper) inflation?

Unfortunately, the answer is less straightforward. There is no question that, in a cash based economy, printing money (or ‘quantitative easing’ as it is named these days) is inflationary. But what actually happens when credit is destroyed at a…
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Chart School

Weekly Market Recap Nov 19, 2017

Courtesy of Blain.

Monday, Tuesday, and Friday saw the now usual “no volatility” days – while bears finally saw some action on Wednesday, bulls came right back Thursday with even bigger gains.  So while we have been cautious on the market for 3 weeks now all that has meant is consolidation in the market (granted the Russell 2000 has taken some hits).  For the week the S&P 500 fell 0.3% while the NASDAQ gained 0.5%. Economic news was light (we cover retail sales below), and earnings are coming to their tail end so we are in a bit of a news vacuum as negotiations about the tax reform bills will take the reigns.

Retail sales slowed in October, rising...



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Zero Hedge

"Worst Case Scenario" Looms As Merkel's "Jamaica Coalition" Collapses; EUR Sinks

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

We warned on Friday that German Chancellor Angela Merkel faced a 'night of the long knives' in her efforts to bring together the co-called 'Jamaica' coalition of four parties and after a desperate weekend of talks, Bloomberg reports Merkel's efforts at forming a coalition have failed meaning a second election looms and sending the euro sliding...



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Phil's Favorites

A Fiscal Disappointment - Of Tax Reform & Growth Fairies

Courtesy of Real Investment Advice.com

I encourage you to take a few minutes to review my previous analysis of the effectiveness of tax cuts on the economy.

The Committee For A Responsible Budget penned after the passage of the tax bill:

“The House approved debt-financed tax cuts based on predictions of magical...



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Digital Currencies

Bitcoin Soars To Record High Above $8000 After Mugabe Speech

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

With Bitcoin trading at $13,499 on Golix, the chaotic environment in Zimbabwe has spread to the global price of the cryptocurrency driving it beyond $8000 for the first time in history as President Mugabe fails to resign in a national address following the nation's coup.

It appears many Zimbabweans have found an alternate way to store/transfer wealth away from Mugabe's prying (and co...



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Biotech

The two obstacles that are holding back Alzheimer's research

Reminder: Pharmboy and Ilene are available to chat with Members, comments are found below each post.

 

The two obstacles that are holding back Alzheimer's research

Courtesy of Todd GoldeUniversity of Florida

Family members often become primary caregivers for loved ones with Alzheimer’s disease. tonkid/Shutterstock.com

Thirty years ago, scientists began to unlock the mysteries regarding the cause of Alzheimer’...



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Insider Scoop

10 Stocks To Watch For November 17, 2017

Courtesy of Benzinga.

Related AMAT 8 Stock's Moving In Thursday's After-Hours Session 12 Stocks To Watch For November 16, 2017 ...

http://www.insidercow.com/ more from Insider

ValueWalk

Robert Mugabe Under House Arrest, Military Takes Control Of Zimbabwe

By Andjela Radmilac. Originally published at ValueWalk.

Zimbabwe’s head of state, 93-year-old Robert Mugabe, has been placed under house arrest after what seems to be a military coup took place in the nation’s capital.

By U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Jesse B. Awalt/Released [Public domain], via Wikimedia CommonsRobert Mugabe is safe

Following numerous reports on social media late Thursday night about the increased military presence in Harare, the capital of Zimbabwe, the country’s military took...



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Members' Corner

An Interview with David Brin

Our guest David Brin is an astrophysicist, technology consultant, and best-selling author who speaks, writes, and advises on a range of topics including national defense, creativity, and space exploration. He is also a well-known and influential futurist (one of four “World's Best Futurists,” according to The Urban Developer), and it is his ideas on the future, specifically the future of civilization, that I hope to learn about here.   

Ilene: David, you base many of your predictions of the future on a theory of historica...



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Mapping The Market

Puts things in perspective

Courtesy of Jean-Luc

Puts things in perspective:

The circles don't look to be to scale much!

...

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OpTrader

Swing trading portfolio - week of September 11th, 2017

Reminder: OpTrader is available to chat with Members, comments are found below each post.

 

This post is for all our live virtual trade ideas and daily comments. Please click on "comments" below to follow our live discussion. All of our current  trades are listed in the spreadsheet below, with entry price (1/2 in and All in), and exit prices (1/3 out, 2/3 out, and All out).

We also indicate our stop, which is most of the time the "5 day moving average". All trades, unless indicated, are front-month ATM options. 

Please feel free to participate in the discussion and ask any questions you might have about this virtual portfolio, by clicking on the "comments" link right below.

To learn more about the swing trading virtual portfolio (strategy, performance, FAQ, etc.), please click here ...



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Promotions

NewsWare: Watch Today's Webinar!

 

We have a great guest at today's webinar!

Bill Olsen from NewsWare will be giving us a fun and lively demonstration of the advantages that real-time news provides. NewsWare is a market intelligence tool for news. In today's data driven markets, it is truly beneficial to have a tool that delivers access to the professional sources where you can obtain the facts in real time.

Join our webinar, free, it's open to all. 

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Kimble Charting Solutions

Brazil; Waterfall in prices starting? Impact U.S.?

Courtesy of Chris Kimble.

Below looks at the Brazil ETF (EWZ) over the last decade. The rally over the past year has it facing a critical level, from a Power of the Pattern perspective.

CLICK ON CHART TO ENLARGE

EWZ is facing dual resistance at (1), while in a 9-year down trend of lower highs and lower lows. The counter trend rally over the past 17-months has it testing key falling resistance. Did the counter trend reflation rally just end at dual resistance???

If EWZ b...



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All About Trends

Mid-Day Update

Reminder: Harlan is available to chat with Members, comments are found below each post.

Click here for the full report.




To learn more, sign up for David's free newsletter and receive the free report from All About Trends - "How To Outperform 90% Of Wall Street With Just $500 A Week." Tell David PSW sent you. - Ilene...

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