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Rational Pessimism: Predicting Equity Returns using Tobin's q and Price/Earnings Ratios

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  • Harney, Matthew
  • Tower, Edward

Abstract

In the spring of 2000, two books predicted a substantial fall in the S&P500 Index. Robert Shiller's Irrational Exuberance found that, historically, a high price earnings ratio, with real earnings averaged over 10 years, accurately predicts a low real rate of return from investing in the S&P500 Index. Smithers and Wright's Valuing Wall Street found that a high Tobin's q for the non-financial equities in the S&P500 does the same. We discover that q beats all variants of the PE ratio for predicting real rates of return over alternative horizons. We also formalize the feedback mechanisms considered in both books.

Suggested Citation

  • Harney, Matthew & Tower, Edward, 2002. "Rational Pessimism: Predicting Equity Returns using Tobin's q and Price/Earnings Ratios," Working Papers 02-29, Duke University, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:duk:dukeec:02-29
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    Cited by:

    1. Banu Simmons-Sueer, 2013. "Forecasting High-Yield Bond Spreads Using the Loan Market as Leading Indicator," KOF Working papers 13-328, KOF Swiss Economic Institute, ETH Zurich.

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    JEL classification:

    • G12 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Asset Pricing; Trading Volume; Bond Interest Rates

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