September 15, 2005

Is the market overvalued ?

I have been reading a lot of analysis on the market valuation levels. A few articles are citing that at a PE of 14 - 15 the market is not too overvalued and should give good returns.
On the other hand , some statistics show that market is fairly or overvalued as the ROE for the indian industry is at its peak, Interest rates low, inflation low and the demand robust. As a result we are seeing these PE levels which are at the peak of a cycle and the normalised PE should be close to 17-18.

I find both arguments plausible, but my money is on the overvaluation side. I have become fairly cautious for some time and would be looking at initiating selling if the markets keep rising.

Also the overall market valuations are important if one is invested in index funds or ETF's. Otherwise rather than concentrating on the market, i am looking at my individual holdings and would start reducing them if they start getting more overvalued (i think some are fairly close to their overvaluation levels)

Although i am not invested in commodity companies, i would look at their valuation levels more closely and would even look at selling them as my thought process is that commodity cycle is at a peak and industry profits are at a cyclical peak (for steel, cement etc ) due to robust demand, high capacity utilisation, low debt and interest level. PE for these companies is very low and i would not base my evaluation on those PE as the earnings are at a cyclical peak. In addition a lot of capacity addition is starting now, for ex: Tata steel seems to have announced a huge capex plan. So i would be wary of putting any money or holding onto commodity companies

Any thoughts ? please share with me

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