Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Stock-bond ‘disconnect’ favors U.S. equities

 “A significant disconnect” between stock valuations and bond yields in the U.S. has made equities relatively cheap, according to Binky Chadha, Deutsche Bank AG’s chief global strategist.

The chart shows the comparison he used to reach this conclusion. The projected price-earnings ratio for the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index, as compiled by Bloomberg, is depicted along with the yield on 10-year Treasury notes.

     Ten-year yields would have to rise about 120 basis points to track the estimated P/Es as they did during the first three quarters of 2011, Chadha wrote in an April 5 report. Each basis point amounts to 0.01 percentage point. The government security yielded 2.04 percent as of yesterday.

     The differential primarily reflects the Federal Reserve’s plan to keep its benchmark interest rate close to zero at least through late 2014, in his view.

     “The Fed’s outlook for unemployment and inflation is therefore key” in determining when the gap might close, Chadha wrote. Policy makers for the central bank are scheduled to meet on April 24-25.

     Stocks are a bargain with the S&P 500 at about 13 times analysts’ projected earnings for this year, the New York-based strategist wrote. He cited a December report in which he called the index fairly valued at 15.4 times future profit.

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