Over the last few years the market has seen a gradual multiple expansion, as the economy got healthier. In 2014 the multiple started to plateau. But actual earnings came in pretty low in Q4 2014 and estimates are low going forward. After 12/31/2014, in the chart below, the estimated trailing multiple will be in the 20s if earnings estimates hold up. That's high, too high.
The lower earnings could just be from write-downs and a lower earnings from energy. But the fact that market multiples are at atypically high levels remain. When fear sets in, normalization be damned.
This condition sets up the market for a hefty fall when the catalyst comes. Will it be the change in Fed language? Russian escalation? China shadow banking system?
Catalysts remain to be seen, but the wider standard deviation multiple has me cautious.
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