With the technology and housing bubbles still fresh on many investors’ minds, it is not surprising that some view U.S. equities as richly valued following a 61% jump for the S&P 500 (^GSPC) since the start of 2011.
Actually, U.S. stocks are not too pricey. The S&P 500’s 12-month trailing P/E ratio is currently just under 16 compared to an average of almost 17 going back to 1999. Using the CAPE Shiller P/E methodology, which divides the S&P 500 by the last 10 years of earnings for the index’s components after adjusting both for inflation, the index’s P/E is 24.5, reports Joe Light for the Wall Street Journal.
That is below the CAPE Shiller P/E seen before the housing bubble and barely more than half the CAPE Shiller P/E of 44 seen just before the tech bubble burst, according to the Journal.
So by that metric, U.S. stocks are modestly pricey, but equities in some of the world’s top-performing markets this year still are not frothy. Importantly for investors, six of the world’s 10 cheapest markets as measured by the CAPE Shiller P/E ratio are accessible via single-country ETFs. [10 Best Global Equity Markets by ETFs]
Russia, the largest emerging market in the cheap CAPE Shiller top-10, has a reputation for trading at discounts to broader emerging markets indices. However, Russian stocks have gotten cheap relative to their own historical standards this year. Although Russia’s CAPE Shiller P/E is just 7.11, according to Cambria Investment data, investors have been reluctant to warm to Russia stocks and ETFs as the Market Vectors Russia ETF (NYSEArca: RSX) is down 6.6% this year. [A Tepid View of Eastern Europe ETFs]
The two cheapest markets as ranked by CAPE Shiller P/E are a former developed turned emerging market and a frontier market – Greece and Argentina. The Global X FTSE Greece 20 ETF (NYSEArca: GREK) is up almost 20% in the past 90 days, but Greece is still the cheapest market in the world by CAPE Shiller P/E. [Hurry to the Greece ETF]
The Global X FTSE Argentina 20 ETF (NYSEArca: ARGT) tracks some of the largest stocks in a country with a CAPE Shiller P/E of just 6.91. Up almost 13% this year, ARGT is by the best-performing single-country ETF tracking a Latin American nation this year.