May 7, 2022 2 min read

More Air Coming Out Of Valuation Multiples

More Air Coming Out Of Valuation Multiples

The air continued to come out of stock valuation multiples this past week. It has mostly been coming out of the S&P 500 Growth index’s MegaCap-8—i.e., Alphabet, Amazon, Apple, Meta, Microsoft, Netflix, Nvidia, and Tesla. Consider the following:

(1) MEGACAP-8 - Their collective forward P/E was down to 25.4 on Friday. During 2020-21, it mostly ranged between 30.0-38.0. It is now below its pre-pandemic peak of 29.0. Its pandemic-lockdown-recession low was 21.5.

(2) S&P 500 GROWTH - The MegaCap-8 currently accounts for about 45% of the market cap of the S&P 500 Growth composite (down from a recent record high of 50%) and 22% of the S&P 500’s market cap (down from a recent record high of 25%). Growth’s forward P/E is down to 20.8.

(3) S&P 500 VALUE - The forward P/E of the S&P 500 Value composite may be finding a bottom around 15.0.

(4) SMIDCAPS - At 12.8 and 12.4, the forward P/Es of the S&P 400 MidCaps and S&P 600 SmallCaps remain very cheap, especially considering that their forward earnings continue to rise to record highs (as does the forward earnings of the S&P 500).

(5) BOTTOM LINE - There shouldn’t be much more near-term downside for forward P/Es unless the economy is on the verge of a recession. We don’t think so, although we do see a 30% risk of a mild recession over the next 18 months.

Note: “Forward P/E” is price/earnings ratio using forward earnings as the denominator. “Forward earnings” is the time-weighted average of industry analysts’ consensus operating earnings-per-share estimates for this year and next. The time weighting removes past periods from the estimates. So forward earnings is a useful proxy for expected earnings over the next 52 weeks and thus is a better representation than annual estimates of the earnings that industry analysts actually anticipate over the year ahead.
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