There are examples, primarily in the technology and Internet spaces, of stocks sporting lofty valuations for extended periods of time.
For example, some market observers believed Amazon (NasdaqGM: AMZN) was expensive at $180, $200 and $250 a share. The stock closed near $387 Friday.
However, when it comes to global exchange traded funds, cheap has been the preferred play this year. As was reported Thursday, data from Mebane Faber’s Cambria Investments confirm that investors that bought single-country ETFs for nations with the lowest CAPE, a variation of the traditional P/E ratio, at the end of 2012 have done quite well this year. [Inexpensive Global Markets Delivered This Year]
Several of the low CAPE countries from the end of last year are represented by ETFs that are among the best European offerings this year, including the the Global X FTSE Greece 20 ETF (NYSEArca: GREK), the iShares MSCI Spain ETF (NYSEArca: EWP) and the iShares MSCI Italy (NYSEArca: EWI). [10 Best Europe Country ETFs in 2013]
Faber’s research highlights just how painful it has been for investors to be long the ETFs tracking high CAPE countries. The U.S., which had a CAPE of 21.1 at the end of 2012, is one positive exception as the SPDR S&P 500 (NYSEArca: SPY) is up almost 24% this year.
Canada and Malaysia were also high CAPE countries at the end of 2012 and the iShares MSCI Canada ETF (NYSEArca: EWC) and the iShares MSCI Malaysia ETF (NYSEArca: EWM) have posted modest gains this year. Other high CAPE country ETFs have not been so lucky.