Monday, April 15, 2013

Hussman Column

This week:

"One type of illusory yield is the earnings yield on stocks, where profit margins are presently 70% above historical norms, and where we’ve demonstrated both by accounting identity and with nearly 70 years of hard data (accurate even to the most recent 4-year period), that the primary source of this corporate surplus is a mirror image deficit in the combined savings of government and households. Stocks are not a claim on next year’s earnings. They are a claim on a very, very long-term stream of future cash flows that will actually be delivered into the hands of investors over time. At present, the 'forward earnings yield' on stocks is a terribly elevated and misleading representative of those cash flows, and investors are likely to find themselves disappointed if they use forward earnings as a 'sufficient statistic' for long-term profitability. The other type of illusory yield is on junk debt, where yields have fallen to the lowest levels in history, and where the majority – perhaps more than all – of the perceived 'yield' is actually a default premium based on the likely frequency of future default."

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