|Today's chart illustrates the price to earnings ratio (PE ratio) from 1900 to present. Generally speaking, when the PE ratio is high, stocks are considered to be expensive. When the PE ratio is low, stocks are considered to be inexpensive. From 1900 into the mid-1990s, the PE ratio tended to peak in the low to mid-20s (red line) and trough somewhere around seven (green line). The price investors were willing to pay for a dollar of earnings increased during the dot-com boom (late 1990s), surged even higher during the dot-com bust (early 2000s), and spiked to extraordinary levels during the financial crisis (late 2000s). Since the early 2000s, the PE ratio has been trending lower with the very significant but relatively brief exception that was the financial crisis. More recently, the PE ratio has trended higher (to around the 19 level). However, over the past five months, corporate earnings have increased enough to maintain a relatively flat PE ratio -- an overall positive for the stock market.Notes:
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Quote of the Day"The engine which drives Enterprise is not Thrift, but Profit." - John Maynard Keynes
Events of the DaySeptember 22, 2013 - First Day of Autumn (Northern Hemisphere)
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