Do Spectacular Earnings Justify Spectacular US Stock Prices?

With share prices and corporate earnings moving together on a nearly one-for-one basis, one might conclude that the US stock market is behaving sensibly, simply reflecting the US economy’s growing strength. But the stock market has not always been so dismissive of the volatility of earnings.

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Stocks have gone up a lot in this expansion but so have earnings – on an almost one for one basis. But earnings are volatile and we’ve seen this plenty of times before. In this article at Project Syndicate, Robert Shiller compares the current period to the 1920s and other periods of high valuation. Needless to say, a bear market would not be kind to stock prices:

NEW HAVEN – The US stock market, as measured by the monthly real (inflation-adjusted) S&P Composite Index, or S&P 500, has increased 3.3-fold since its bottom in March 2009. This makes the US stock market the most expensive in the world, according to the cyclically adjusted price-to-earnings (CAPE) ratiothat I have long advocated. Is the price increase justified, or are we witnessing a bubble?

Read the rest at Project Syndicate

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