Siegel: Market Still Cheap -- Very Cheap

Wharton Professor and author Jeremy Siegel says stocks are more attractively priced than they’ve ever been during ultra-low interest rate periods, and says investors looking for yield should turn to high-dividend-paying stocks.

Price-to-earnings ratios around the world are reasonable and the quality of earnings is extraordinarily high, Siegel said at a Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce event, according to Canada’s Financial Post. During low-interest-rate periods, the average P/E ratio has been 19% to 47% above current levels, Siegel contends.

Siegel also said that gold and commodities investors may be disappointed five years from now; he expects mining stocks to do better than commodities.

As for those who are waiting for market P/E ratios to fall into single digits — as they did in the late ’70s and early ’80s — before buying stocks, Siegel says that won’t happen. With interest rates so low, stocks face little competition from bonds or cash in terms of yields, so P/Es won’t fall that low.

Some other interesting data from Siegel showed that, despite the 2000s being considered a “lost decade” for stock investors, those who invested in low-P/E or high dividend stocks actually could have made out pretty well. The highest quintile of S&P 500 stocks based on P/E ratios returned -5.67% per year during the decade, he says, while the lowest P/E quintile of stocks returned 9.58%. The lowest quintile of dividend-paying stocks, meanwhile, would have lost 2.82%, he says, while the highest-yielding quintile would have returned 5.08%.