[...]And just to show how irrational the market has become, and current fantasy world recovery it is expecting, they published this chart:
The U.S. economy lost a quarter of a million jobs in July. Meanwhile, over 400,000 workers abandoned the labor force (and are therefore no longer counted among the unemployed), which prompted a slight decline in the unemployment rate despite the job losses. In the context of an economy still strained by high levels of consumer debt and still record delinquency and foreclosure rates, labor market conditions are still troublesome. Still, the pace of job losses and new unemployment claims has clearly softened from the pace we observed early in the year.
Moreover, it might be enticing to look at a chart of the S&P 500 and envision a quick return to 2007 highs and beyond, but it is important to recognize that those highs were based on profit margins about 50% above historical norms, combined with an elevated P/E multiple of about 19 against those earnings. Even if the economy is poised for a sustained recovery here, the belief that those joint outliers will be quickly re-established goes against historical precedent.
Based on our standard methodology, which considers normalized earnings (not the far more depressed level of current earnings) the S&P 500 is now priced to deliver 10-year total returns in the area of 6.9% annually. This is a figure that has historically been associated with bull market peaks, including 1969 and 1987. In most instances, such valuations turned out badly in reasonably short order. It is, however, true that prospective returns were even worse prior to the 1929 crash, and during the bulk of the period since 1996, so there have been some historical periods where speculators have driven valuations to higher levels, and during these times, it has not been particularly effective to stand in front of speculators saying "no, stop, don't."
What kind of recovery is the market pricing -or- just how much is the market overvalued?
Here are some very reasonable comments made by John Hussman on their weekly market update: