Category Archives: PE ratio

17/9/20: Stonks are Getting Balmier than in the Dot.Com Heat

Via Liz Ann Sonders @LizAnnSonders of Charles Schwab & Co., Inc. a neat chart summarizing the madness of the King Market these days:


Yeah, right: PE ratio is heading for dot.com madness levels, PEG ratio (price earnings to growth ratio or growth-adjusted PE ratio) is now vastly above the dot.com era peak, and EPS is closer to the Global Financial Crisis era lows. 

What can possibly go wrong, Robinhooders, when a mafia don gifts you some chips to wager at his casino?


25/2/2020: No, 2019-nCov did not push forward PE ratios to 2002 levels


Markets are having a conniption these days and coronavirus is all the rage in the news flow.  Here is the 5 days chart for the major indices:

And it sure does look like a massive selloff.

Still, hysteria aside, no one is considering the simple fact: the markets have been so irrationally priced for months now, that even with the earnings being superficially inflated on per share basis by the years of rampant buybacks and non-GAAP artistry, the PE ratios are screaming 'bubble' from any angle you look at them.

Here is the Factset latest 20 years comparative chart for forward PEs:


You really don't need a PhD in Balck Swannery Studies to get the idea: we are trending at the levels last seen in 1H 2002. Every sector, save for energy and healthcare, is now in above 20 year average territory.  Factset folks say it as it is: "One year prior (February 20, 2019), the forward 12-month P/E ratio was 16.2. Over the following 12 months (February 20, 2019 to February 19, 2020), the price of the S&P 500 increased by 21.6%, while the forward 12-month EPS estimate increased by 4.1%. Thus, the increase in the ā€œPā€ has been the main driver of the increase in the P/E ratio over the past 12 months."

So, about that 'Dow is 5.8% down in just five days' panic: the real Black Swan is that it takes a coronavirus to point to the absurdity of our markets expectations.

8/2/20: Price-to-Sales Ratio Hits an All-Time High for S&P500


Stock are not overvalued, folks. Because, you know, stocks valuations are no longer making any sense...

Via @HondoTomasz, comes this nice chart, plotting the 18-year high in S&P500 PE ratios (gamable) and the all-time highs in Price-to-Sales ratio (less gamable). Do remember, folks, sales are a positive function of inflation and inflation has been pretty weak, of late. Which means that sales are facing two headwinds at the same time: low inflation pressures and low demand growth pressures. Yet, share prices are just keep climbing up in this new economic paradigm that looks like the old Dot.Com paradigm.

2/7/19: Earnings and Market Valuations: Equity PEs


While P/E ratios are gamable and informationally highly restrictive, the metric is still a useful one when considering as to how expensive/cheap equity can be. Here is the latest chart via @topdowncharts showing P/E ratios based on 10 year average earnings (smoother series, but the long average is even less informationally rich than pure P/Es):


Which makes:

  1. U.S. markets overvalued in excess of 2006-2007 peaks, but less than in the blowout bubble of the dot.com era;
  2. Developed markets (ex-US) and Emerging markets relatively moderately priced.
Given the fact that U.S. equities earnings are probably the most susceptible to strategic manipulation, e,.g. shares buybacks, M&As and earnings/cash management, the U.S. markets are in heading for trouble.

7/6/17: Markets, Investors Exuberance and Fundamentals


Latest data from FactSet on S&P500 core metrics is an interesting read. Here are a couple of charts that caught my attention:

Look first at the last 6 months worth of EPS data through estimated 2Q 2017 (based on 99% of companies reporting). The trend continues: EPS is declining, while prices are rising. On a longer time scale, EPS have been virtually flat in 2014-2016, but are forecast to rise nicely in 2017 and 2018. Whatever the forecast might be for 2018, 2017 increase would do little to generate a meaningful reversion in EPS to price trend


However, the good news is, expectations on rising EPS are driven by rising sales for 2017, and to a lesser extent in 2018. This would be (if materialised) an improvement on the 2014-2016 core drivers, including shares repurchases (chart below).


Next, consider P/E ratios:

As the chart above indicates, P/E ratios are expected to continue rising in the next 12 months. In other words, the markets are going to get more expensive, relative to underlying earnings. Worse, on a 5-year average basis, all sectors, excluding Financials, are at above x14. Hardly a comfort zone for 'go long' investors. The overvalued nature of the market is clearly confirmed by both forward and trailing P/E ratios over the last 10 years:


Forward expectations are now literally a run-away train, relative to the past 10 years record (chart above), while trailing (lagged) P/Es are dangerously close to crisis-triggering levels of exuberance (chart below).


In summary, thus, latest data (through end-of-May) shows continued buildup of risks in the equity markets. At what point the dam will crack is not something I can attempt to answer, but the lake of investors' expectations is now breaching the top, and the spillways aren't doing the trick on abating them.