Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Stock Market Valuation

The S&P 500 is down 6.2% from the year’s high of 1465 on September 14. It is up 9.3% ytd. It could certainly rebound 6.6% back to the year’s high if the fiscal cliff is averted. I’m not sure that there’s enough time to do much better than that. So breaking out to a new record high may have to wait until next year.

Once again 13 is turning out to be an unlucky number for the forward P/E of the S&P 500. The latest and the previous two rallies in the S&P 500 since mid-2010 hit a brick wall when the P/E rebounded back to about 13. Since peaking at 13.1 on September 14, the P/E has dropped to 12.3. Over this same period, the forward P/E of the S&P 400 MidCaps fell from 14.8 to 14.0, and the S&P 600 SmallCaps forward P/E dropped from 15.9 to 14.4.

The market hit the year’s high the day after the Fed announced QE3 on September 13. The rally stalled as investors awaited the Tuesday, November 6 election results. The S&P 500 is down 3.8% since last Tuesday's close, after investors apparently concluded that the odds of going over the cliff had just increased. If that doesn’t happen, stocks are cheap and the P/E could easily rebound, maybe even above 13. If it does happen, the previous low for the P/E was 10.2.

Today's Morning Briefing: A Review. (1) Running out of time for yearend rally. (2) Once again, 13 is unlucky for P/E. (3) Stocks are cheap again as long as cliff is averted. (4) FSMI dipping. (5) Commodity prices weaker, while dollar stronger. (6) Sentiment turning more bearish. (7) Dow Theory in neutral. (8) Yellen endorses latest super-easy money idea. (9) Hard to see QE3 in Fed’s balance sheet. (More for subscribers.)

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