VIDEO: The Intersection of Asset Prices, Cash Flows and Returns

I came across an extremely relevant and appropriate quote recently, “Nothing so undermines your financial judgement as the sight of your neighbor getting rich.” – J.P. Morgan (h/t Jesse Felder)

It’s been a while since I’ve made a video, but, given the conversations I’ve been having as of late, it’s time.

How do you know if an asset is cheap, expensive or fairly priced? In this new presentation, I walk through valuations, how they’re calculated, what has made them so reliable for predicting future returns, and why we need to constantly remind ourselves of this principle when the temptation to chase performance in overpriced, poor quality assets grows strong.

S&P 500 “Line in the Sand” and Rotation Out of Growth Stocks?

It appears a line has been drawn in the sand at $3,900 on the S&P 500 as the widely-watched index has crossed that level several times over the last month (see chart below). Thus far, the S&P 500 has been directionless since the beginning of February.

Over the weekend, I assumed Senate passage of the $2 trillion “relief” bill, and likely passage in the House this week, would have been sufficient to thrust the S&P above 3,900. However, so far, even that has not provided enough fuel to support the next leg higher. Has the market already priced this in? A “buy the rumor, sell the news” dynamic? Continue reading “S&P 500 “Line in the Sand” and Rotation Out of Growth Stocks?”

BRIEF: Year End Market Returns Summary

What a year.

The widely followed S&P 500 index ended 2020 over 16% higher (18.4% total return w/ dividends) than it began the year even as it experienced one of the sharpest 34% declines in history (mid-February to mid-March).

The U.S. stock market managed a great year even in the midst of a global pandemic that saw businesses shut down, tens of millions of people lose their jobs, spike in corporate defaults, a steep recession (we’re still in BTW) and S&P 500 earnings that declined 13.6% from the prior year.

This means the entire increase in the S&P 500 was from expansion of the Price/Earnings multiple to over 30x, which is a level ONLY seen throughout history in the Dot-Com Bubble and Great Financial Crisis. The long-term average is about 16x. Continue reading “BRIEF: Year End Market Returns Summary”

Tesla: Some Perspective

I’ve been asked about Tesla several times the last few weeks so time for an update. This is a wonderful discussion that provides some perspective on the economics of automakers in general and the highly improbable events that would have to materialize to justify a valuation for Tesla at even 1/10th its current value.

In Mid-November it was announced that Tesla would be added to the S&P 500. Tesla stock is up over 70% since the announcement…not because of any fundamental change in the company, mind you, but simply because of speculators front-running index funds’ required purchases at any price.

The gain since the announcement alone in one month’s time (adding almost $300 billion of market cap) amounts to more than the entire Toyota company! Think about that for a moment. Tesla has added the value of the world’s most profitable and largest automaker in the blink of an eye on no fundamental news whatsoever. Continue reading “Tesla: Some Perspective”