Posts Tagged ‘global financial system’

ARE YOU READY FOR EQUITY RETURNS OF -0.07%?

ARE YOU READY FOR EQUITY RETURNS OF -0.07%?

Courtesy of The Pragmatic Capitalist 

In February of 2009 John Hussman wrote a letter that stood out to me.  He discussed the very depressed valuations and the likelihood of 9-11% 10 year returns.  This was a big change for Mr. Hussman and a very healthy 10 year return by any standard.  What no one expected, however, was that we would get most of that 10 year return in just 10 months.

In his latest letter Mr. Hussman updated his valuation model.  It’s not nearly as optimistic:

Total annual return = (1+g)(Yoriginal/Yterminal)^(1/T) – 1 + (Yoriginal+Yterminal)/2

As it happens, the long-term growth rates of S&P 500 dividends, earnings (measured peak-to-peak across economic cycles) and other fundamentals have been remarkably stable for more than 70 years, at about 6% annually, with very little variation even during the inflationary 1970′s. Even if one includes the depressed yields of the bubble period, and restrict history to the post-war period, the median dividend yield is 3.7%. Thus, a reasonably good estimate of future 7-year total returns for the S&P 500 is simply:

Total annual return = (1.06)(Yoriginal/.037)^(1/7) – 1 + (Yoriginal + .037)/2

At a 2% dividend yield, this estimate is currently -0.07%.

For historical perspective, the chart below presents the 7-year projected total returns obtained in this manner in blue. The actual subsequent 7-year total return for the S&P 500 is depicted in green. Notice that the performance of this method deteriorated significantly after about 1988, reflecting the fact that terminal yields 7 years later began to depart dramatically from prior historical norms.

The last 15 years have been skewed to the upside as the U.S. government has attempted to generate a capitalist market where losers never lose.  In other words, valuations have been inappropriately bolstered by the government’s constant tinkering in the markets:

“The difference between the green line and the red line represents the effect of bubble valuations. Had it not been for a period of sustained bubble valuations (which ultimately proved themselves to be bubble valuations by creating a 13 year period of dismal subsequent returns), we find that the yield-based model above would have extended its admirable historical record.

This creates a terrible problem for investors here. Given that the yield on the S&P 500 is now below 2%, it is essential for investors


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Stiglitz on the Financial Crisis

Stiglitz on the Financial Crisis

Joe StiglitzCourtesy of Jesse’s Café Américain

Joe Stiglitz describes the current financial crisis and prospective recovery quite well, and the conclusions he draws are remarkably similar to our own which is gratifying.

It’s good to hear these things from a distinguished Nobel laureate, and not just from your humble Propriétaire, while puttering over his daily bread.

Bloomberg
Stiglitz Says U.S. Economic Recovery May Not Be ‘Sustainable’

By Michael McKee

Sept. 4 (Bloomberg) — The U.S. economy faces a “significant chance” of contracting again after emerging from its worst recession since the 1930s, Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz said.

“It’s not clear that the U.S. is recovering in a sustainable way,” Stiglitz, a Columbia University professor, told reporters yesterday in New York.

Economists and policy makers are expressing concern about the strength of a projected economic recovery,…

Stiglitz said he sees two scenarios for the world’s largest economy in coming months. One is a period of “malaise,” in which consumption lags and private investment is slow to accelerate. The other is a rebound fueled by government stimulus that’s followed by an abrupt downturn — an occurrence that economists call a “W-shaped’ recovery.

“There’s a significant chance of a W, but I don’t think it’s inevitable,” he said. The economy “could just bounce along the bottom.”

Stiglitz said it’s difficult to predict the economy’s trajectory because “we really are in a different world.” He said the crisis of the past year was made worse by lax regulation that allowed some financial firms to grow so large that the system couldn’t handle a failure of any of them.

Big Banks

“These institutions are not only too big to fail, they are too big to be managed,” he said.

Finance ministers and central bankers from the Group of 20 nations meet in London Sept. 4-5 to lay the groundwork for a summit in Pittsburgh later this month, where leaders will consider measures to overhaul supervision of the financial system…

With so much excess capacity, the American economy faces a short-term threat of disinflation and possibly deflation, Stiglitz said. Wages may even decline, given recent high productivity and the likelihood of an extended period of high unemployment, he said.

Longer term, he said the Fed’s aggressive monetary policy will mean inflation becomes the greater threat. “With the magnitude of the deficits and the…
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