Confession time… We are obsessed with P/E Ratios. Now this statement itself would shoo away a lot of intelligent readers. As a reader, you should understand that we have a bias for simple tools/ratios like PEs, PBVs & Dividend Yields. But if you are still reading this sentence, we assume that you too are interested in simplicities of stock investing.
Just to re-check this conclusion, we decided to re-evaluate Market Movement in relation to PE levels of 12 and 24. We plotted the data on a chart (below) and were pleasantly surprised!
Click to enlarge
Though above chart looks like a screen from trader’s terminal, it’s actually a rawdisplay of benefits of fundamental law – Buy low (PE). Sell high (PE).
The blue line is actual index’s (Nifty50) movement during last 13 years
The red line is theoretical index levels at a PE = 24
The green line is theoretical index levels at a PE = 12
Assumption – We believe that a growing economy like India is undervalued at PE=12 and overvalued at PE=24. (You may differ on this).
As we can see, whenever the actual index touched the green line (PE12), shown by green bubbles, it bounced off considerably (Major Gains were recorded).
Similarly, when the index touched the red line (PE24), marked by red bubbles, it generally resulted in actual index falling considerably (Major losses were recorded).
So would it be safe to say that index bounces off PE levels of 12 and 24?
The author discussed this conclusion with a close friend and was well advised to look for other combinations of high and low PEs as well. We reserve the analysis of other PE combinations for our next post. In this post, we would do some further calculations using just two combinations PE12_&_PE24 & its more conservative subset PE14_&_PE22. Instead of just keeping our calculations limited to 12-24 zone, we chose 14-22 as an additional level. The reason is that levels of 12 & 24 are rarely achieved. They are very rare. So an investor may not get many opportunities to take his calls at these levels. In comparison, levels of 14 and 22 are more frequently seen in the markets, giving ample decision points to an investor. So here is what we found –
Starting with Rs 10,000, we invested in index when it first touched PE12 and sold out completely when it first touched PE24. Now we waited for markets to correct to levels of PE12 and invested all proceeds from our previous sale. Again we sold off completely at PE24. The process was repeated as long as possible.
We repeated similar exercise with PE levels of 14 and 22. We bought at PE14 and sold off at PE22. The resultant data is tabulated below.
As you can see, buying at PE12 and selling at PE24 resulted in just 6 transactions in last 13 years!! But returns have been a phenomenal 26% i.e. Initial amount of 10K has increased to 198K!!
Similarly, for PE14 & PE22, returns have been a great 18.8%
This type of investing may require a lot of patience as we only make 6 transactions in 13 years, i.e. one transaction every two years!!
We are pleasantly surprised by these results. Is it so easy to earn a 25% pa return for more than a decade?? Our answer would be a big NO. Reason, as already mentioned, is that we need to check the data for other PE combinations. We also need to assign a lesser weightage to the great Indian Bull Run of 2003-2008 (which may not be repeated in years to come). We also need to see if such trends are visible in other markets. But that part of discussion is reserved for another day. For the time being, enjoy the simplicity and so-called amazing returns of our proposed approach. 🙂
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