PE Ratio of Indian Markets – A Long Term Analysis

Price to Earnings ratio (P/E ratio) is a measure of price paid for a share relative to the profit earned by that share; i.e.


You can read more about P/E Ratios here & here.


They say that it is best to invest when valuations are low.

Sensex is currently (December 2011) trading at a P/E of 16.5. So is this the right time to invest? Is this what experts call a low valuation? We at Stable Investor have decided to answer these questions.

Analysis of Sensex’s last 12 years data (from 1stJan 1999 onwards) reveals a few interesting points –
  • Over any rolling period of 5 years in last 12 years, Sensex has not given negative returns! So if you are ready to stay invested (in this case, in an Indian Index Fund) for a period of 5 years, you won’t lose money. 
  • Returns earned during last 12 years, when segregated on basis of P/E ratios are –
Returns (Over 3 & 5 years) & P/E Ratios

This clearly indicates that at current P/E of 16.5, we have a chance of earning more than 15% per annum for next 3-5 years!

(Caution – This statement is made on basis of historical data. Past performance is no guarantee of future performance.)

So after analyzing this interesting relationship between P/E Ratio and Returns, what does a Stable Investor do?
  • Stable Investor is now in a better position to respond to people’s view that it is better to invest in markets of lower multiples (P/E). Our analysis clearly shows that if investor invests in markets of lower multiples, probability of earning high returns is very high. 
  • P/E Ratios are still relevant for judging overall valuations of markets, if not individual stocks. 
  • It is advisable to invest when markets are trading in early teens (i.e. 13<P/E<16). It has also been seen that Indian markets tend to stay between P/E Multiples of 12 and 24 (Read Indian Markets PE 12 to 24 for details) 
  • P/E Ratio is a beautiful indicator of market’s overall valuation. But before making any buy or sell decisions, an investor should also look at a lot of other information/data.
Update – You can check the latest PE-Ratio Analysis of Indian Markets in 2013 or 2012. For constant updates about Indian Markets’ PE, P/BV Ratios, please check the State of Indian Markets.

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2 comments

  1. Excellent Article, thanks for sharing. Over any rolling 5 years does make a little sense provided one has invested during low P/E. What would be the result over a long term (say 10years, 15years, 20years) if one invested at low P/E, since sensex will not be always at a lower P/E.

    Please email the spreadsheet at your convenience, would be interested to explore. Thanks.

  2. @Mans
    We would definitely try to do a post on 'really' long term returns 🙂
    But we could not figure out your email id from the comment. Just drop us a mail at stableinvestor [at] gmail.com and we will send the spreadhsheet to to you.
    Thanks

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