As promised, today brings us to the 4th in our series of charts:
P/E vs S&P500
click for larger chart
courtesy of Mike Panzner, Rabo Securities
I’ll get into the significance of what this means to the markets later, but for now, note where the P/E is over the median, and its impact on market performance.
Stocks, while not terribly expensive, can not be called cheap by historical measures. An even more discouraging mesure on this comes from Clifford Asness of AQR Capital Management (via Mark Hulbert). He calculated the P/E ratios for the entire market for the 1871-2003 period at ~11. That implies stocks are even less cheap (or more expensive) than the past 50 years implies.
Regardless of whether you take the 50 year or the 132 year perspective, the theory of Reversion to the Mean implies that stocks are likely to become cheaper so as P/Es revert. And one shouldn not expect the market to stop at fair value, as we have seen, the tendency is to overshoot on both sides.
Our 3 prior Charts: