Raging Bull

This from First Trust’s chief economist Brian Wesbury, by way of Real Clear Markets:

We use a capitalized profits model to value stocks, dividing corporate profits by the 10-year Treasury yield. We compare the current level of this index to that from each quarter for the past 60 years to estimate an average fair-value. Not only are 10-year yields low (2.2%), but corporate profits are growing strongly. As a result, and hold onto your hats, this top down model says that the fair-value for the Dow is currently 40,000.

However, we think the Treasury market is in a bubble. So, instead of a 2.2% yield, we use a more conservative discount rate of 5% for the 10-year Treasury. This generates a “fair value” of 18,500 on the Dow and 1,940 for the S&P 500. In other words, the US equity markets are currently undervalued by about 65%.

So what does our model say if profits revert to the historical mean of about 9.5% of GDP? Even in that scenario, and assuming a 5% yield on the 10-year Treasury, equities are about 21% undervalued, with fair value at 1430 for the S&P 500 and 13,700 for the Dow.

The problem with this scenario is that it takes the worst of both worlds: a major decline in profits and a surge in interest rates. In the real world, a large decline in profits would normally be accompanied by a drop in bond yields. In other words, our model says the risk of investing in equities today is very low.

I have no idea if he is right or not, but I feel better after reading it!  Market sentiment has been so negative lately that I think I just like reading something where we aren’t all on the way to hell in a handbasket.

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    Japan interst rates have been incredibly low for decades. And yet they have been locked in a twenty year bear market for stocks. Would love to see the same analysis done on the Japanese market. Could it be that the large overhanging debt issues in the US (just like Japan) make these statistics less relevant.

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