Don’t Worry: “It’s Only 1997” Besides “It’s Different This Time”

Two articles in the last two days, one on Bloomberg, the other on the Wall Street Journal, provided key reasons we should not worry about stock market bubbles. 1. It’s only 1997 (P/E valuations have not exceeded the dot-com bubble in 2000 yet) 2.It’s different this time (always a classic argument)

by Mish

It’s Only 1997

“Terrified that rallies in Facebook Inc., Amazon.com Inc. and Google portend a millennial catastrophe along the lines of the dot-com bust? Relax. Going by one doomsday clock, it’s only 1997 in bubble years … when there was still 2 1/2 years and 60 percent to go in what became the longest bull market on record.”

It’s Different This Time

The Nasdaq Composite crossed the 6000 mark on Tuesday morning, setting another record in a year that is already a hot one for the index, and further putting the old dot-com days in the rear-view mirror. But there are at least two notable old records it has not yet surpassed. One is a measure of how far the index still has to go, the other is a mark nobody really wants to see again.

  1. Inflation-adjusted Nasdaq. Adjusted for inflation, the Nasdaq Composite still has not broken its record high, fully 17 years after that peak, according to data from the Journal’s Market Data Group.
  2. Price-to-earnings ratio. The dot-com boom was such a spectacular feeding frenzy that by one measure of valuation, the Nasdaq Composite is not even at 40% of its peak.
    The companies in the index collectively traded at 27.5 times their last 12 months of earnings, according to Thomson DataStream.

Shiller P/E Ratio

Base image: Shiller PE Ratio

While waiting for that final 20% (and why should it stop there?) relax. Repeat after me: It’s not bubbly, it’s Bubblicious. Enjoy the ride.

Besides, there cannot be a bubble because, as we all know, it’s different this time. Honest!

Inquiring minds may also wish to consider Reader Asks: Can the Bubbles Last Forever?

Mike “Mish” Shedlock

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