Dow Approaching Overvaluation?

15 Nov

The Dow and the S&P 500 made new highs again today, continuing the theme of the last month. After another record day I think it’s prudent to look at where valuations stand. The Dow currently trades for over 19 times forward earnings, assuming a consensus 12% growth rate from present levels. This translates to a forward earnings yield of just 5.18%. This happens to be lower than the Fed Funds rate and about on par with the yield on money market accounts. Given the option between a fully priced market and a virtually risk free money market account yielding the same amount for the year ahead, the choice seems clear. From a Fed model standpoint, stocks are fairly valued.

By the way, the S&P 500 looks a little more reasonably priced at around 17 times projected earnings, translating to an earnings yield of around 6%. It seems the Dow fetches a richer valuation than the S&P on this basis but neither metric looks cheap.

If you have the ability to hold cash, it seems prudent to wait to invest new monies at this point. The market may rise further in the short-term, but it looks like the risk-reward balance is out of equilibrium at this point. Volatility has been low and enthusiasm high; a reversal in either could lead to a better entry point.

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