måndag 10 september 2012

Hussman håller ut (jag också)

Hussman fortsätter att vara tålmodig. Förutsättningarna på aktiemarknaden motsvarar enligt honom de 5% dyraste mätt som Shiller P/E och de 0,5% dyraste mätt som förväntad framtida årlig avkastning (4,5%) de kommande tio åren. Han påpekar att när data sett ut som nu har marknaden ganska snart erfarit sina historiskt största nedgångar, tex 1973-74, 1987, 2000-2002, 2007-2009.

As of Friday, our estimates of prospective return/risk in the stock market remain in the most negative 0.5% of historical instances. Notably, the S&P 500 is within 1% of its upper Bollinger band (two standard deviations above its 20-period moving average) on daily, weekly and monthly resolutions. According to Investors Intelligence, bullish advisors outnumber bearish advisors by more than two-to-one (51% vs. 24.5% respectively), and corporate insiders are selling stock at a pace of six shares sold for every share purchased.

On the valuation front, profit margins remain elevated and the ratio of corporate profits to GDP is nearly 70% above its historical norm, and as a result, price/earnings multiples that are based on near-term earnings estimates are elevated, but do not seem extreme. But stocks are not a claim on one year of earnings – they are a claim on a very long-term stream of cash flows that will actually be delivered to investors over time. On the basis of normalized earnings, we estimate a 10-year prospective total return for the S&P 500 of less than 4.5% nominal. The Shiller P/E is presently 22.3, which is in the richest 5% of all historical data prior to the late-1990’s bubble. While this multiple may not seem extreme relative to the data of the past 13 years or so, it should be remembered that stocks have lagged Treasury bill yields during this period, and the market has experienced two separate plunges in excess of 50% each, precisely because valuations have been so rich.

The market conditions we observe at present are very familiar from the standpoint of historical data, matching those that have appeared prior to the most violent market declines on record (e.g. 1973-74, 1987, 2000-2002, 2007-2009). That is no assurance that market losses will be swift, as some of those instances included extended tops characterized by some amount of “churn” and exhaustion before failing. Indeed, even the historical record of these instances is not an assurance that stocks will decline at all in the present case. It’s just that we have no other basis to form expectations about prospective return and risk except to understand how valuations, market action, sentiment and other factors have converged to drive market returns over history.

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