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What Physician-Investors Need to Know about the Shiller PE Ratio

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What it is – How it works

By Michael Zhuang MS www.MZCap.com

This Shiller PE index is a stock market metric invented by Yale University Professor Robert Shiller, PhD.

Basically, it is the average PE ratio of all S&P 500 stocks for the last ten years. The Shiller PE is also called PE10. Professor Shiller found it to be a reasonably good measure of valuation of the whole market.

IOW: The higher the Shiller PE, the more expensive the market. So, with Shiller PE at 24, we can call this market relatively expensive.

Assessment

Here is what I know currently.

  1. The  higher the Shiller PE – the lower the one-year and three-year return propensity.
  2. Return variability is so high as to render the Shiller PE’s predictive power very weak.
  3. Only when Shiller PE is over 35 are the three-year forward returns overwhelmingly negative.

So, the market may or may not be headed for a fall immediately, but we do need to temper our expectation of future returns.

About the Author

Michael Zhuang is founder and principal of MZ Capital, a fee-only registered investment advisor firm located in the Greater Washington D.C. metropolitan area.

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