A word of caution from Morgan Stanley’s equity strategists:
« The latest burst of Tech outperformance has not been accompanied by superior EPS trends. Just now Tech shows few signs of stopping (or even slowing); for example: i) post its largest 1m outperformance versus the S&P since 2012, the NASDAQ is now 2.7SD above its 12M relative average; ii) 80% of constituents of MSCI ACWI’s IT index outperformed the market over the last month, the highest breadth reading since 2003. Amid all this euphoria we’d encourage investors to keep a close eye on EPS trends as the latest burst of price outperformance has not been accompanied by EPS outperformance. »
It seems investors have started noticing.
P/E remains one of the most used metrics to value stocks. It is very easy to compute. But it’s not always easy to interpret. « Most investors fail to have a clear sense of what a particular multiple implies about a company’s future financial performance and don’t understand how multiples change over time », according to Michael Mauboussin and Dan Callahan in a report published in 2014 by Credit Suisse (this article is mainly based on their note which you can read here).
Short answer: Not Many.
Facts: Cash & cash equivalents at Berkshire Hathaway (BRK) reached $116 billion at the end of 2017, compared with $86.4 billion at the start of the year. Per Morningstar’s Gregg Warren estimates, Buffett finds himself with « around $90 billion in dry powder that could be committed to investments, acquisitions, share repurchases and dividends. » Continuer la lecture de « What Options for Buffett Who Has $90 Billion To Invest? »
Nomura expects Malaysia equities to return 4% in 2018 and says stock picking will be of the utmost importance to outperform.
The positive view from the broker stems from a number of factors, listed in a report dated Jan 22: « 1) solid macro and consumption growth, 2) continuing foreign inflows amidst positive revisions, 3) better corporate balance sheets with dividend upside, 4) possible election rally, 5) likely net buying by local institutions, 6) Malaysia’s laggard performance vs peers, 7) key concerns on banks getting addressed, 8) an appreciation MYR. »
The brokers set a 2018 year end target of 1,900 points for KLCI index.
Here are 3 slides from the latest « Where to Invest Now » published by Goldman Sachs’s David J Kostin and team. There sum up his views on US equity market going into 2018 and the most interesting one is the following, because it helps understand what an « exuberant » market would look like, if history was to repeat itself.
Despite tight or reasonable valuation, equities still make sense for JPMorgan.
2 useful tables from Deutsche Bank that give a view on fundamental trends and valuation ratios for several market places + a deep dive into European markets (geographies/sectors/size).
Per Nick Nelson’s report date Nov 13:
« We recalibrate our top-down earnings model as it had been persistently underestimating the turn in operational leverage. We now see 10% EPS growth in 2018. Consensus estimates are 8.9%, but adjusting for the average upward bias, underlying « true » consensus may be as low as c.2%. We see modest P/E re-rating to 15.7x from 15.0x currently. For the FTSE 100, we are more conservative and target 7,900 end-2018 (c.6% upside). »
« Upside risks: Equities re-rate to previous cycle peak valuations. This would point to c.33% upside from the current levels. European corporates re-gear to US levels. US investors return (net buying peaked in May). European M&A picks up, currently running c.30% below the US. Effective French labour market reform. »
« Downside Risks: Rates and bond yields rise too sharply. But a gradual move would likely be manageable – Europe has very little Tech (6% of index) and a large amount of positively rate sensitive Financials (c.25% of index). Significant Euro strength, on our forecasts (EUR/USD 1.25 end 2018) this is manageable. Higher volatility / political risks in Spain and Italy. »
The anatomy of bull markets since 2009 differs greatly among regions. GS did a good job deciphering the drivers of rising equity markets in different countries, which show the contribution of both valuation (P/E i.e. investor psychology) and fundamentals (i.e. real corporate profits).