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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Zero Hedge

Dow Opens Above 26,000 After Fastest 1000-Point Surge In History

 

Dow Opens Above 26,000 After Fastest 1000-Point Surge In History

Courtesy of Zero Hedge

Well that escalated quickly...

Having surpassed 25,000 at the open on January 4th (surging from 24k to 25k in a record 23 days), The Dow Jones Industrial Average has opened today above 26,000...

Crossing that 1000-point gap in a record-smashing 7 trading sessions...

And more accurately, this is the most-aggressive rise in The Dow ever... triple the pace of the 24k to 25k advance...



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ValueWalk

Why did the 'best ideas fund', established by the Capital Group, continually underperform?

By The Acquirer's Multiple. Originally published at ValueWalk.

Here’s a great presentation by Mohnish Pabrai to the folks at Google. During the presentation Pabrai relays a story about a time he had dinner with a small group at the home of Charlie Munger. During the dinner Munger posed a question to the group:

Why did the ‘best ideas fund’, established by the Capital Group, continually underperform?

]]> Get The Full Series in PDF

Get the entire 10-part series on Charlie Munger in PDF. Save it to your desktop, read it on your tablet, or email to your colleagues.

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Phil's Favorites

Breaking Up Tech: Indexes doing what the economy won't

 

Breaking Up Tech: Indexes doing what the economy won’t

Courtesy of 

Nobody wants to say this but I will.

The technology sector has gotten so big, so pervasive and powerful, that the stock market index creators had to break it up. Because the monopolist powers of these corporations off of the stock market and in the real world have not been checked by natural competitive forces or government intervention.

The big names in tech get bigger and bigger every year, their influence extending into all facets of modern life, no industry left untouched by the effects of this.

Thi...



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Chart School

Weekly Market Recap Jan 14, 2017

Courtesy of Blain.

After 3 days of mild “rest” – and the first down day of the year (!!) for the S&P 500, bulls came back with bells on Thursday and Friday, driving indexes to record highs yet again.  This is starting to get “parabolic”… some shades of the type of things we saw in 1999.  (See the S&P 500 and NASDAQ charts below)  The S&P 500 gained 1.6% and the NASDAQ 1.7% for the week.

“This reminds me of January 2000,” said Kent Engelke, chief economic strategist, at Capitol Securities Management, which manages $4 billion in assets, referring to the nearly unceasing climb to records for stocks and the unease it can inspire.  “It’s scary, the unrelenting advance,” he added.

“The move isn’t about fundamentals...



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Insider Scoop

A Peek Into The Markets: U.S. Stock Futures Climb Ahead Of Wells Fargo Earnings

Courtesy of Benzinga.

Pre-open movers

U.S. stock futures traded higher in early pre-market trade, ahead of earnings from Wells Fargo & Co (NYSE: WFC). Data on retail sales for December and the Consumer Price Index for December will be released at 8:30 a.m. ET. Data on business inventories for November will be released at 10:00 a.m. ET. Philadelphia Federal Reserve Bank President Patr...



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Digital Currencies

Why unregulated cryptocurrencies could trigger another financial crisis

 

Why unregulated cryptocurrencies could trigger another financial crisis

Courtesy of Iwa SalamiUniversity of East London

Shutterstock

The price of bitcoin hit $17,000 late last year and – although the cryptocurrency has plunged since then – there are signs that an absence of regulation can hurt investors and trigger the next fin...



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Biotech

How Alzheimer's disease spreads throughout the brain - new study

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

 

How Alzheimer's disease spreads throughout the brain – new study

Courtesy of Thomas E CopeUniversity of Cambridge

Harmful tau protein spreads through networks. Author provided

Alzheimer’s disease is a devastating brain illness that affects an estimated 47m people worldwide. It is the most common cause of dementia in the Western world. Despite this, there are currently no treatments that are effective in curing Alzheimer’s disease or preventing its relentless progressio...



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Mapping The Market

Trump Admin Bans CDC From Using Words Like 'Science-Based,' 'Diversity'

By Jean-Luc

These are the policies of a theocracy, not a modern democracy:

Trump Admin Bans CDC From Using Words Like ‘Science-Based,’ ‘Diversity’

The Trump administration has prohibited the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) from using words like “science-based,” “diversity,” and “transgender” in their official documents for next year’s budget, according to the Washington Post.

Senior CDC budget leader Alison Kelly met with the agency’s policy analysts on Thursday to announce ...



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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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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. 

Just click here at 1 pm est and join in!

[For more information on NewsWare, click here. For a list of prices: NewsWar...



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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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About Phil:

Philip R. Davis is a founder Phil's Stock World, a stock and options trading site that teaches the art of options trading to newcomers and devises advanced strategies for expert traders...

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Ilene is editor and affiliate program coordinator for PSW. She manages the site market shadows, archives, more. Contact Ilene to learn about our affiliate and content sharing programs.

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