Thursday, 21 January 2010

Australian Stock Market – January 2010 Update

To try and squeeze some more performance out of a retirement investing strategy that is heavily focused on asset allocation I am using a cyclically adjusted PE ratio for the ASX 200 to attempt to value the Australian Stock Market. The method used is based on that developed by Yale Professor Robert Shiller. I will call it the ASX 200 PE10 and it is the ratio of Real (ie after inflation) Monthly Prices and the 10 Year Real (ie after inflation) Average Earnings. For my Australian Equities I will use a nominal ASX 200 PE10 value of 16 to equate to when I hold 21% Australian Equities. On a linear scale I will target 30% less stocks when the ASX 200 PE10 average is ASX 200 PE10 average + 10 = 26 and will own 30% more stocks when the ASX 200 PE10 average is PE10 average -10 = 6.

Chart 1 plots the ASX 200 PE10. Key points this month are:
ASX 200 PE10 = 18.8 which is up from 18.7 last month. My target Australian Equities target is now 19.2% which is down from 19.3% last month.
ASX 200 PE10 Average = 22.9
ASX 200 PE10 20 Percentile = 17.3
ASX 200 PE10 80 Percentile = 27.7
ASX 200 PE10 Correlation with Real ASX 200 Price = 0.82

Chart 2 plots further reinforces why I am using this method. While the R^2 is low at 0.1358 there appears to be a trend suggesting that the return in the following year is dependent on the ASX 200 PE10 value. Using the trend line with a PE10 of 18.8 results in a 1 year expected real (after inflation) earnings projection of 12.5%. The correlation of the data in chart 2 is -0.37.

Chart 3 plots Real (after inflation) Earnings and Real Dividends. Dividends and Earnings are below the trend line. In fact Earnings are now very close to that of Dividends. What this means is that currently Australian companies are using nearly all their Earnings just to fund the Dividends. Yet the trend line suggests typically clear distance between the two with the trend lines running almost parallel. Where is the money for investments going to come from?

As always DYOR.

Assumptions include:
- All figures are taken from official data from the Reserve Bank of Australia.
- January price is the 21 January ’10 market close.
- January Earnings and Dividends are assumed to be the same as the December numbers
- Inflation data from October ’09 to January ’10 is estimated.

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