In a recent opinion editorial on Project Syndicate, NYU Stern Professor Michael Spence examined the relationship between rising equity prices and current stock market trends. His editorial included insight on whether stock valuations are excessive relative to future earnings potential, banks’ unconventional monetary policies, and the economy’s equilibrium conditions. In terms of growth patterns,
While expectations of faster earnings growth may well be contributing to elevated P/E levels, the current situation is complicated, to say the least. What is certain is that expectations of high earnings growth would have a more durable positive effect on P/E levels than the suppression of the equity risk premium.
The other important factor affecting P/E is the risk-free rate. As monetary policy normalizes – a process that has already begun in the United States – the risk-free rate is expected to rise to a level that is consistent with stable 2% inflation, which, in turn, corresponds with a level of unemployment. What precisely that rate is, however, remains uncertain – and extremely difficult to determine, given that it is affected by virtually every aspect of the unfolding growth patterns.
To read the entire opinion editorial, please click here.