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穆迪首席经济学家:美股即将迎来重大调整

Mark Zandi 2017年08月17日

如果你在买美股,最近要做好防灾准备了。

美股最近一段时期进入了疯涨阶段,过去18个月,美股大盘上涨了近三分之一,股价每天都在破纪录地往上蹿,而且几乎是一条直线地往上涨,股市的波动性降至有史以来的最低点。

不过如果你是个普通股民,切记“盈不可久”这一点,因为这个冲天大牛市可能很快只剩回忆了。股市很快就将迎来重大调整,也就是说大盘将下跌超过10%。接下来的几年,股票收益即便还有,恐怕也是微不足道的。

并不是说美股已经成了一个马上就会破裂的大泡泡。泡沫这种东西是被大众的投机心理吹起来的,也就是说,股民之所以购买一支股票,仅仅是因为这支股票最近涨势不错,因此股民认为它在可见的将来还会继续涨下去。这种特点与2000年前后的科技泡沫有异曲同工之妙。在2000年前后,有大量散户买入了“.com”概念的股票,很多人甚至压根不知道互联网是个什么东西。当时大多数互联网公司是不赚钱的,业务模式能够盈利的网络公司也是凤毛麟角。当时保证金负债的大行其道也对互联网泡沫起了推波助澜的作用。很多投资者为了购入更多股票,甚至以手中的股份作抵押,举借更多债务购买股票。

当然,现今的美股市场上也不乏投机者,这一点从Facebook、亚马逊、奈飞和谷歌等公司不断飙升的股价上就能看出来。区别是这几家公司的业务模式还是相当稳健的,他们不仅有海量的全球用户群,而且产品与服务也在不断进化。另外今天的投资者也更懂得趋利避害,往往不会持有那些讲不好故事的公司——想想Twitter和Snap。另外投资者对保险金负债也保持着警惕,目前保险金负债的水平仍低于互联网泡沫时期。

我之所以对美股市场的前景表示怀疑,并非是因为担心广域经域即将下滑,从而影响企业收益及股市表现。每次经济危机的序曲都是股市的震荡,但历史上也有过多次股市下跌而整体经济依然保持增长的例子。这一次很可能也会这样。

目前,美国经济和企业界大体是健康的。归功于企业营收的稳健增长,企业利润作为股价的根本支撑点,目前看来还是较为可观的。尤其是目前全球经济已经重回正轨,而且美元也停止了升值。另外,企业利润率处于较为理想的水平,虽然企业在提价上面临一定困难,但他们在控制成本上做得还是很不错的。

那么我为什么对美股感到悲观呢?首先是因为现在的股市被高估了。也就是说,尽管企业营收的展望向好,但相比之下股价还是太高了。过去半个世纪以来,股价唯一一次疯涨到这个地步,就是2000年前后的科技泡沫时期。实际上,现在的股价比1987年股灾时还要高估了。

目前的企业收益虽然不错,但收益的涨幅必然要下降,因为企业要想留住员工,就必须要给他们加薪,更不用说他们还要招聘新的员工。随着美国的失业率下降至4%左右,美国的工资增长必将出现缓慢而稳健的提速。相应地,企业会迅速通过涨价的方式做出回应,但涨价的代价并不会完全转嫁到消费者身上,企业的利润必将会承受一定压力。

面对工资和物价上涨的压力,美联储必然需要提高短期利率,开始缩紧银根,从而导致长期利率的上涨。一旦利率开始上涨,投资者就难以继续维持对股市的热情。高利率也使企业更加难以借钱进行股票回股——而回购则是在牛市时的一个普遍做法。

其次还要考虑到华盛顿的因素。到目前为止,华盛顿的“功能障碍”倒并不是一个问题,这只是意味着华盛顿的立法者们啥事也没干而已。对于一个增长中的经济来说,“无为而治”而是一种不错的做法。不过要不了多久,华盛顿的立法者们就要决定,是批准政府运算,还是再来上一次“政府关门”;是抬高国债限额,还是冒一冒让全球金融体系瘫痪的风险。税收改革也是件好事,然而即便改革真的实施了,也有可能达不到投资者的心理预期。

当然,对于股市何时调整,并没有一个时间节点。它有可能明天就发生,也有可能是下个季度甚至明年才会发生。即便这样,它离我们也已经不远了。(财富中文网)

本文作者Mark Zandi是穆迪分析公司的首席经济学家。他对文中所提到的所有公司都有投资。

 译者:贾政景

Investors have enjoyed an amazing run. Stock prices are up by nearly a third over the past 18 months and seem to be hitting new record highs daily. And the run-up has been almost a straight line, with stock price volatility—the ups and downs in prices—the lowest it has ever been.

But if you are an investor, soak all of this in, because it will soon be nothing but a memory. The stock market is due for a significant correction—defined as a greater than 10% decline in stock prices—and stock returns in the next several years will be very pedestrian if they increase at all.

It’s not that the stock market is a bubble ready to burst. Bubbles are created by speculation, when investors buy a stock simply because its price has risen strongly in the recent past, and therefore conclude it will rise strongly in the foreseeable future. This clearly characterized the tech bubble that inflated around Y2K. Investors piled into the stocks of dot-com companies, many without even understanding what the Internet was. Most of the companies weren’t making any money, and few had business models that seemed likely to ever generate profits. That bubble was also fueled by margin debt, as investors borrowed aggressively against their stock holdings to purchase even more stocks.

To be sure, there are speculators in today’s market, as is clear from surging prices for the FANG companies—Facebook, Amazon, Netflix, and Google. The difference is that these are real companies that share a compelling business model—build out a massive global network of users that rely on their quickly evolving products and services. Today’s investors are also being discerning by shunning the stocks of companies that don’t have a clear story—think Twitter or Snap. And investors remain cautious users of margin debt, which is no higher today than it was in the heyday of the tech bubble.

My skepticism around stocks is also not rooted in some fear that the broader economy is ready to tank, thus undermining corporate earnings and the stock market. Every recession is presaged by a downturn in the stock market, but there are many cases historically where stocks decline and the economy keeps ticking along. This will be one of those times.

The economy and corporate America are in good shape. Corporate profits, the fundamental support for stock prices, are being powered by solid revenue gains, particularly now that the global economy is back on track and the U.S. dollar is no longer rising in value. Margins are also wide despite businesses’ difficulty raising prices more quickly, because they’ve done a great job managing costs.

So why am I pessimistic? The stock market is overvalued. That is, stock prices are much too high despite the good outlook for corporate earnings. The only other time in the past half century that stock prices have been so highly priced was during the tech bubble. Yes, they’re even more overpriced now than prior to the 1987 market crash.

Corporate earnings are good, but they are set to grow more slowly, since businesses will have to give their employees bigger pay increases to hold onto them, let alone hire new workers. With unemployment falling toward 4%, wages will slowly, but steadily accelerate. Businesses will respond by raising prices more quickly, but they won’t be able to pass through all of their higher costs to customers. Margins will come under pressure.

Intensifying wage and price pressures means that the Federal Reserve will need to raise short-term interest rates more consistently, and begin to wind down its balance sheet, which will cause long-term rates to rise. It is hard to see investors being as enthusiastic about stocks when interest rates are rising. Higher rates will also make it more expensive for businesses to borrow money to buy back their stock, a common practice in the current bull market.

Then there is Washington. So far, the dysfunction there hasn’t been a problem; it has only meant that lawmakers have done nothing. That is fine for a growing economy. But doing nothing won’t be a winning strategy for much longer. Lawmakers must soon agree on a budget or risk shutting the government down, and they must raise the Treasury debt limit or risk shutting down the global financial system. Tax reform would be nice, but odds are that if there is reform it will fall short of what investors desire.

Of course, there is no timing a stock market correction. It could happen tomorrow, next quarter, or next year. But that time is at hand.

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