I grow tired of the tried and true standard measures of valuation, and from time to time I try to think of alternate methods. One thought was to analyze Ken French’s Market(ME) to Book(BE) Breakpoints by percentile. We can see by year at what level is a stock considered cheap relative to the universe. As these breakpoints move higher, the market is willing to pay a higher price. In reverse, as these breakpoints move lower, stocks fetch a lower price or can be considered cheaper. Since there are 20 fifth percentiles, a horizon plot can provide a good overall look at this measure of valuation.
Here is a horizon plot of absolute ME/BE valuation by fifth percentile since 1926.
For a more representative look, let’s plot a horizon chart of the ME-BE / historical mean – 1.
For one more non-horizon look, we can use an xyplot.
In theory, I think this could provide yet another gauge of the cheapness of stocks, but of course, there is lots of research to be done.