Tuesday, November 24, 2009

P/E ratio of S&P 500 Missing

Following the P/E ratio of the S&P 500 can help investors determine if stock prices are inflated, depressed, or realistic. If a P/E ratio, also called a multiplier, continues reaching record highs for the S&P 500, it suggests the index for the 500 biggest companies may be too high with respect to reported earnings and earnings growth.

The P/E ratio for the S&P 500 hit 140.76 on September 30, 2009. Here are some recent historical values:
12-31-2007 22.19
12-31-2008 60.70
03-31-2009 116.31
In Gary North's Specific Answers of November 17, he notes that Standard & Poor's no longer makes the S&P 500 P/E ratio available to the public. According to an email he received from their webmaster, you must register with their website first, then log in to see it. Why is S&P doing this? Here's North's interpretation:
This is a polite way of saying, "This site is not for the sake of the general public. It is for the sake of the retail brokerage industry. So, please go away."

My guess is that the company came under pressure from the brokerage industry to stop publishing what has to be a frightening statistic for brokers, a statistic that says "Sell!"
The best way to call attention to something is to try to hide it.

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