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标普500指数跨过危险点,股民安全了吗?

标普500指数跨过危险点,股民安全了吗?

Shawn Tully 2021年04月20日
投资者好日子或许还能持续一段时间,但历史规律表示,大调整快到了。

笔者一直在密切关注标普500指数,眼看着它的估值日益接近一个危险点位。按照我的非官方指标,标普500指数以前只有一次达到过这个点位,那是2000年9月互联网泡沫的最高点。4月16日上午,该大盘指数突破了这个令人不安的里程碑。标普指数在开盘后涨至4187点,创历史新高。根据我的“正常化”利润基准值,这使标普指数的市盈率倍数达到30倍(准确的说是30.02倍)。

乍一看,30倍的市盈率似乎并不可怕。去年6月,根据之前四个季度按美国公认会计准则计算的净收益这个标准指标,基本市盈率达到31,当时的股价比今天低26%。2020年第4季度结束时,市盈率倍数约为40倍。这并没有影响乐观投资者的心态,因此在那之后标普指数持续上涨。但这些疫情期间的经济比率,对于衡量股票估值过高、过低还是公允毫无意义。虽然股价持续上涨,但从2019年第4季度到2020年底,股票收益下跌了三分之一,导致最知名、最基本的估值指标升高。

显而易见,利润将从疫情导致的低点实现反弹,这会使分母变大,使40倍以上的市盈率倍数恢复到更现实的区间。为了准确预测股票估值过高还是过低,以及股市所面临的障碍,你需要使用“正常化利润”。我将“正常化利润”定义为经济复苏之后,所有标普500公司最有可能达到的利润水平。我根据2019年全年的数据,选择了2019年第4季度的每股收益139.47美元。

这样选择有两个原因。首先,2019年的利润不仅达到历史新高,而且按照历史标准来看,与销售额等指标的比率也处在极高水平。这样降低了正常化市盈率向上扭曲的概率,因为我们低估了未来出现更高可持续收益的可能性。当然,乐观的投资者会认为,30倍市盈率倍数并不正常,因为2021年的股票收益会令2019年表现出色的大盘股都相形见绌。

其次,即使在2019年经济繁荣时期,仍有一个根本原因导致每个季度的每股收益(EPS)基本保持平稳。虽然利润达到较高水平,但从基本面来看,收益却缺乏上行空间。即使到现在,通常超级乐观的华尔街分析师仍预测,到2021年第2季度,年化利润将与2019年年底的139美元持平。简而言之,2021年利润有望重新达到历史高点。

历史上,除了最近的一次以外,标普指数的市盈率倍数只有在收益大幅下降或暴跌时,才会超过30倍。在1999年第4季度,市盈率倍数达到30.5,接近互联网泡沫的最高点。这个数字令投资者不安,因为当时的每股收益达到历史新高。换言之,投资者每获得1美元利润,都需要支付30美元,而且当时的利润水平已经高于历史标准水平。但每股收益继续上涨,到2000年第3季度达到53.70美元,再创新高。

每股收益在随后四年一直没有超过这一水平。在每股利润创新高的同时,基准指数在2000年9月1日涨至1518点的史上最高点。当时,该指数在四年内上涨了120%。所以,与今天的市场最相似的是2000年劳动节前三天的行情。标普500指数历史上只出现过两次利润和股价同时创下新高的情况。(当然,这是因为我选择2019年的利润与今天的利润进行对比。)

在二十多年前,标普指数的传统市盈率倍数为26.75。按照这个指标计算,标普指数的成本比今天按30倍市盈率计算的结果高出12%。但市盈率倍数并不全面。比如根据当时的基本面信息,2000年的每股收益远高于2021年。所以当时的市盈率倍数是可以理解的,因为利润一定会下降,但今天的市盈率倍数过高是因为每股收益并不高,这预示着未来会有较大的增长空间。

虽然相关证据有些复杂,但总体而言,截至2019年第4季度的利润似乎至少达到了互联网泡沫时期的最高点。例如,2019年全年的每股收益相当于国民收入的5.4%,远高于截至2000年9月四个季度的4.4%。2019年,标普指数营业利润在销售额中的占比或“营运利润率”为11.1%,比2000年高约4个百分点。相比之下,标普指数在世纪之交的股权收益率为17.5%,高于2019年的15.5%。

由于大部分指标都显示2019年的相对利润高于2000年,因此我们将按保守估算,假设两个周期的相对利润相当。然后我们可以对仅有的两个收益和估值均创历史新高的时期进行详细对比。这对于今天的大盘股意味着什么?

繁荣背后的坏消息

如果你从未离场,那么市盈率倍数达到30背后的繁荣当然是好消息。但如果你计划现在进场,或者想把你获得的利润再投资到美国大盘股,这可能是最糟糕的消息。不妨看看2000年9月1日之后发生了什么。当时标普指数陷入长期低迷,2003年3月11日跌至801点,下跌47%。直到7年后的2007年9月,标普指数才重回2000年9月的最高点;当然在金融危机期间,标普指数再次暴跌,2013年3月突破1500点。这导致该指数长达12年的收益为零,只有微薄的股息。

当然,你无法预测我们是否会再经历一次互联网泡沫破灭之后的暴跌。乐观的投资者预测,两个强大的利好消息将带领美国股市继续高歌猛进:快速上涨的利润将超过2019年的最高水平,以及未来几年的超低利率。

这两种情况出现的可能性不大。而且要从这两件事中受益的机会更加渺茫。首先,我们来看一下利润的未来前景。目前,股票收益的GDP占比为5.4%,已经超过了历史标准水平。如果按照华尔街的预测,每股收益上涨速度将继续超过GDP,利润占比只会持续扩大。尤其令人担忧的是,4月16日,标普指数的估值在国民收入中的占比令人震惊地达到161%,比2000年的130%提高了四分之一,几乎比二十年中位数翻了一番。

为了将这个比例维持在160%以上,股票收益需要吞噬掉更大一部分经济,与此同时,美国长期低迷的工资最终将开始上涨,美国的长期增长率将低于2%,而且企业所得税作为拜登政府雄心勃勃的支出计划的主要收入来源,其税率可能将大幅提高。

关于利率,乐观投资者认为,未来几年10年期国债收益率将与GDP保持相同的增长趋势,对于这种观点最好的回应非常简单:这种情况以前很少发生。正常情况下,“实际”利率或通胀调整后利率会与国民收入增长保持相同趋势,最近几十年利率陷入负区间的情况下从来不会持续太久。对于今天低于通货膨胀的收益率,最合理的解释是这是千年不遇的新冠疫情冲击经济造成的罕见现象。

依旧有许多经验丰富的投资者相信,低利率将维持较长时间。路易斯·纳维利尔为他的家族理财室管理价值18亿美元的资产组合。他非常冷静,对于股市有独到的见解。他告诉《财富》杂志:“我们听说了各种有关通货膨胀的说法,我们看到了极好的零售销售数据和GDP向上修正的趋势。但债券收益率却在下跌。我敢说按照当前的债券收益率,股票的价值依旧在被低估。”

纳维利尔的观点很有道理。但我会继续对标普指数史上仅有的市盈率达到30的两个时期进行对比,分析两者的相似之处。互联网泡沫酿成了上个世纪最惨烈的股灾之一。现在,我们再次看到了当时出现过的警告信号和疯狂的繁荣。好日子或许还能持续一段时间。但如果持续太久将违背历史规律。根据2000年年底出现的疯狂和随后的股灾,我更愿意相信历史。(财富中文网)

译者:刘进龙

审校:汪皓

笔者一直在密切关注标普500指数,眼看着它的估值日益接近一个危险点位。按照我的非官方指标,标普500指数以前只有一次达到过这个点位,那是2000年9月互联网泡沫的最高点。4月16日上午,该大盘指数突破了这个令人不安的里程碑。标普指数在开盘后涨至4187点,创历史新高。根据我的“正常化”利润基准值,这使标普指数的市盈率倍数达到30倍(准确的说是30.02倍)。

乍一看,30倍的市盈率似乎并不可怕。去年6月,根据之前四个季度按美国公认会计准则计算的净收益这个标准指标,基本市盈率达到31,当时的股价比今天低26%。2020年第4季度结束时,市盈率倍数约为40倍。这并没有影响乐观投资者的心态,因此在那之后标普指数持续上涨。但这些疫情期间的经济比率,对于衡量股票估值过高、过低还是公允毫无意义。虽然股价持续上涨,但从2019年第4季度到2020年底,股票收益下跌了三分之一,导致最知名、最基本的估值指标升高。

显而易见,利润将从疫情导致的低点实现反弹,这会使分母变大,使40倍以上的市盈率倍数恢复到更现实的区间。为了准确预测股票估值过高还是过低,以及股市所面临的障碍,你需要使用“正常化利润”。我将“正常化利润”定义为经济复苏之后,所有标普500公司最有可能达到的利润水平。我根据2019年全年的数据,选择了2019年第4季度的每股收益139.47美元。

这样选择有两个原因。首先,2019年的利润不仅达到历史新高,而且按照历史标准来看,与销售额等指标的比率也处在极高水平。这样降低了正常化市盈率向上扭曲的概率,因为我们低估了未来出现更高可持续收益的可能性。当然,乐观的投资者会认为,30倍市盈率倍数并不正常,因为2021年的股票收益会令2019年表现出色的大盘股都相形见绌。

其次,即使在2019年经济繁荣时期,仍有一个根本原因导致每个季度的每股收益(EPS)基本保持平稳。虽然利润达到较高水平,但从基本面来看,收益却缺乏上行空间。即使到现在,通常超级乐观的华尔街分析师仍预测,到2021年第2季度,年化利润将与2019年年底的139美元持平。简而言之,2021年利润有望重新达到历史高点。

历史上,除了最近的一次以外,标普指数的市盈率倍数只有在收益大幅下降或暴跌时,才会超过30倍。在1999年第4季度,市盈率倍数达到30.5,接近互联网泡沫的最高点。这个数字令投资者不安,因为当时的每股收益达到历史新高。换言之,投资者每获得1美元利润,都需要支付30美元,而且当时的利润水平已经高于历史标准水平。但每股收益继续上涨,到2000年第3季度达到53.70美元,再创新高。

每股收益在随后四年一直没有超过这一水平。在每股利润创新高的同时,基准指数在2000年9月1日涨至1518点的史上最高点。当时,该指数在四年内上涨了120%。所以,与今天的市场最相似的是2000年劳动节前三天的行情。标普500指数历史上只出现过两次利润和股价同时创下新高的情况。(当然,这是因为我选择2019年的利润与今天的利润进行对比。)

在二十多年前,标普指数的传统市盈率倍数为26.75。按照这个指标计算,标普指数的成本比今天按30倍市盈率计算的结果高出12%。但市盈率倍数并不全面。比如根据当时的基本面信息,2000年的每股收益远高于2021年。所以当时的市盈率倍数是可以理解的,因为利润一定会下降,但今天的市盈率倍数过高是因为每股收益并不高,这预示着未来会有较大的增长空间。

虽然相关证据有些复杂,但总体而言,截至2019年第4季度的利润似乎至少达到了互联网泡沫时期的最高点。例如,2019年全年的每股收益相当于国民收入的5.4%,远高于截至2000年9月四个季度的4.4%。2019年,标普指数营业利润在销售额中的占比或“营运利润率”为11.1%,比2000年高约4个百分点。相比之下,标普指数在世纪之交的股权收益率为17.5%,高于2019年的15.5%。

由于大部分指标都显示2019年的相对利润高于2000年,因此我们将按保守估算,假设两个周期的相对利润相当。然后我们可以对仅有的两个收益和估值均创历史新高的时期进行详细对比。这对于今天的大盘股意味着什么?

繁荣背后的坏消息

如果你从未离场,那么市盈率倍数达到30背后的繁荣当然是好消息。但如果你计划现在进场,或者想把你获得的利润再投资到美国大盘股,这可能是最糟糕的消息。不妨看看2000年9月1日之后发生了什么。当时标普指数陷入长期低迷,2003年3月11日跌至801点,下跌47%。直到7年后的2007年9月,标普指数才重回2000年9月的最高点;当然在金融危机期间,标普指数再次暴跌,2013年3月突破1500点。这导致该指数长达12年的收益为零,只有微薄的股息。

当然,你无法预测我们是否会再经历一次互联网泡沫破灭之后的暴跌。乐观的投资者预测,两个强大的利好消息将带领美国股市继续高歌猛进:快速上涨的利润将超过2019年的最高水平,以及未来几年的超低利率。

这两种情况出现的可能性不大。而且要从这两件事中受益的机会更加渺茫。首先,我们来看一下利润的未来前景。目前,股票收益的GDP占比为5.4%,已经超过了历史标准水平。如果按照华尔街的预测,每股收益上涨速度将继续超过GDP,利润占比只会持续扩大。尤其令人担忧的是,4月16日,标普指数的估值在国民收入中的占比令人震惊地达到161%,比2000年的130%提高了四分之一,几乎比二十年中位数翻了一番。

为了将这个比例维持在160%以上,股票收益需要吞噬掉更大一部分经济,与此同时,美国长期低迷的工资最终将开始上涨,美国的长期增长率将低于2%,而且企业所得税作为拜登政府雄心勃勃的支出计划的主要收入来源,其税率可能将大幅提高。

关于利率,乐观投资者认为,未来几年10年期国债收益率将与GDP保持相同的增长趋势,对于这种观点最好的回应非常简单:这种情况以前很少发生。正常情况下,“实际”利率或通胀调整后利率会与国民收入增长保持相同趋势,最近几十年利率陷入负区间的情况下从来不会持续太久。对于今天低于通货膨胀的收益率,最合理的解释是这是千年不遇的新冠疫情冲击经济造成的罕见现象。

依旧有许多经验丰富的投资者相信,低利率将维持较长时间。路易斯·纳维利尔为他的家族理财室管理价值18亿美元的资产组合。他非常冷静,对于股市有独到的见解。他告诉《财富》杂志:“我们听说了各种有关通货膨胀的说法,我们看到了极好的零售销售数据和GDP向上修正的趋势。但债券收益率却在下跌。我敢说按照当前的债券收益率,股票的价值依旧在被低估。”

纳维利尔的观点很有道理。但我会继续对标普指数史上仅有的市盈率达到30的两个时期进行对比,分析两者的相似之处。互联网泡沫酿成了上个世纪最惨烈的股灾之一。现在,我们再次看到了当时出现过的警告信号和疯狂的繁荣。好日子或许还能持续一段时间。但如果持续太久将违背历史规律。根据2000年年底出现的疯狂和随后的股灾,我更愿意相信历史。(财富中文网)

译者:刘进龙

审校:汪皓

This writer has been watching carefully as the S&P 500 climbed closer and closer to matching a perilous valuation mark that, by my unofficial metrics, has been reached only once before—at the height of the dotcom bubble in September 2000. The morning of April 16, the big-cap index reached that troubling milestone. Just after the open, the S&P hit a fresh record at 4187. That lifted its multiple, based on my benchmark for "normalized" profits, to a towering 30 times earnings (or 30.02, to be precise).

At first glance, a price/earnings ratio of 30 might not seem alarming. In June of last year, the basic earnings multiple—using the standard measure of trailing four quarters of GAAP net earnings—soared to 31, when shares were 26% cheaper than today. And at the end of the fourth quarter of 2020, the P/E stood at almost 40. That number hasn't bothered the bulls at all, since the S&P has partied since then. But those pandemic-economy ratios are pretty meaningless in gauging whether stocks are expensive, cheap, or fairly valued. Although prices romped, it was the one-third earnings collapse from the fourth quarter of 2019 to the end of 2020 that most inflated the most famous and fundamental of valuation measures.

It was always clear that profits would rebound from COVID-stricken lows, increasing the denominator and putting that 40-plus PE in a more realistic range. To get an accurate reading on where stocks stand on the spectrum of super-pricey to bargains, and hence handicap where they're headed, you need a yardstick for "normalized profits." I define that level as the number the S&P companies collectively are most likely to post once the recovery takes hold. My choice is the Q4 2019 earnings of $139.47 per share, based on the total for the year.

I made that pick for two reasons. First, 2019 profits not only set a record, but also stood extremely high by historical standards when compared to sales and other measures. That reduces the chance that our normalized P/E is distorted upwards because we're underestimating much higher sustainable earnings in the pipeline. Of course, the bulls will argue that our 30 multiple is way out of whack, because 2021 profits will dwarf even big-caps’ super performance in 2019.

Second, even in the strong economy of 2019, earnings per share (EPS) from quarter to quarter were essentially flat, for a basic reason. Profits had reached such high levels versus fundamentals that earnings lacked room to run. Even now, Wall Street analysts, who are typically ultra-optimistic, project annualized profits through the second quarter of 2021 that match the $139 registered at year-end 2019. Put simply, rescaling that summit is a likely scenario for profits in 2021.

Historically, the S&P multiple has exceeded 30 only at times when earnings dropped sharply or collapsed, with one exception prior to today. In the December quarter of 1999, the P/E reached 30.5 near the peak of the Internet stock craze. That number flashed red, because it came on top of the highest EPS ever recorded. In other words, investors were paying a gigantic $30 for every $1 in profits, and those profits were already elevated by historical standards. But EPS marched on, striking a new high of $53.70 in the September quarter of 2000.

As it turned out, EPS wouldn't beat that mark again for four years. Those record profits coincided with an all-time peak for the benchmark index, which reached the summit of 1518 on Sept. 1, 2000. At that point, the index had surged 120% in four years. So the best single parallel to where the market stands today is its status three days before Labor Day in 2000. Once again, those are the only two times the S&P 500 achieved never-before-witnessed profits and prices at the same time. (Of course, that's using our choice of 2019 profits for the comparison to today.)

On that date more than two decades ago, the S&P’s traditional multiple hovered at 26.75. By that yardstick, the index is 12% more expensive today at a P/E of 30. But the multiple doesn't provide the full picture. Say that according to fundamentals at the time, EPS was a lot higher in 2000 than in 2021. In that case, the multiple could be understated because profits were bound to fall, and today's P/E is overstated because EPS is still modest, presaging big increases to come.

The evidence is somewhat mixed, but on the whole, profits as of Q4 2019 appear at least as high, relative to the period, as at the apex of the tech bubble. For example, earnings for the full year of 2019 were equivalent to 5.4% of national income, far above the 4.4% for the four quarters ending in September 2000. As for operating profits as a share of sales, or "operating margins," the S&P recorded 11.1% in 2019, beating the number in 2000 by around four percentage points. By comparison, the turn-of-the-century index did better in return on equity, garnering 17.5% to 2019's 15.5%.

Since most but not all of the metrics point to higher relative profits in 2019 than 2000, we'll take a conservative stance and rate them about equal for both periods. We're left with a side-by-side look at the only two periods of all-time high earnings coincided with record valuations. What does this mean for today's big-caps?

Bad news behind the boom

The boom that brought the P/E of 30 is great news if you've been riding the train. But it's the worst possible tidings if you're planning to jump in now, or want to leave your winnings in U.S. big-caps. The evidence: Look what happened in the period following Sept. 1, 2000. The S&P entered a long swoon, bottoming at 801 on March 11, 2003, for a loss of 47%. The index didn't regain the September 2000 mountaintop for seven years, until September 2007; prices plunged again, of course, during the financial crisis, before climbing back above 1500 in March 2013. That adds up to over 12 long years of booking zero gains except for paltry dividends.

Of course, it's impossible to predict whether we'll experience a drop of anything like the aftermath of the dotcom catastrophe. The bulls forecast that two powerful tailwinds will converge for a full-rigged voyage to glory: fast-rising profits that will surmount the feats of 2019, and the support of super-low interest rates for years to come.

Both are possibilities, but unlikely. And benefiting from the confluence of both is an even longer shot. Let's look first at the outlook for profits. At 5.4% of GDP, earnings are already outsize by historical standards. For EPS to keep outpacing GDP, as Wall Street predicts, profits would have to get even more outsize. It's especially worrying that on April 16, the S&P's valuation as a share of national income hit an astounding 161%, one-quarter above the 130% it reached in the 2000 rampage, and almost double the two-decade median.

To stay at 160%-plus, earnings would have to devour an even bigger share of the economy at a time when wages, depressed for years, are finally on the rise, the U.S. is facing long-term growth rates at below 2%, and corporate income taxes are likely to rise significantly as a prime source of revenue for President Biden's ambitious spending agenda.

As for interest rates, the best response to the bull case that the 10-year Treasury yield will trail the trajectory of GDP in the years ahead is basic: It has seldom happened before. "Real" or inflation-adjusted rates normally track national income, and cases in which they’re in negative territory have never lasted long in recent decades. The most logical explanation for today's sub-inflation yields is that they're a rare phenomenon caused by COVID's once-in-a-millennium blow to the economy.

Still, many seasoned investors believe rates will remain low for a long time. Louis Navellier, who runs a $1.8 billion portfolio for his family office, is a sober, insightful student of the markets. "We were hearing all this talk of inflation, and we saw stunning retail sales figures, and upward GDP revisions," he told Fortune. "And yet bond yields fell. I can make the argument that where bond yields are now, stocks are still undervalued."

Navellier makes a good case. I'll stick with the takeaway from setting the only two times the S&P reached 30 on peak earnings cheek by jowl, and judging the resemblance. The aftermath of the dotcom fever ranked among the worst deluges of the past century. We're reliving the warning signals and wild exuberance we saw then. The great times may keep rolling for a while. But for the roll to last would be a departure from history. And I'm betting on history, as chronicled by the craziness of late 2000 and the wreckage that followed.

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