Worried About Earnings? Try Some Other Value Metrics

Market price/earnings ratios have been rising and profit margins remain at levels that some say are unsustainable. But Validea CEO John Reese says investors who are growing distrustful of earnings-based valuations have plenty of other options when it comes to finding cheap stocks.

“I, for one, am not particularly worried by [current P/E levels], particularly given the low interest-rate environment we are currently in,” Reese writes. “Yes, the shorter-term P/E ratio has been rising, but is far from exorbitant; the CAPE [10-year cyclically adjusted P/E], while on the higher side, is not astronomical, and is in many ways a flawed measure; and there is good evidence that, while profit margins may decline a bit, they’re not going to go plummeting back down to long-term means.”

But for those who are concerned, Reese says that non-earnings metrics like the price/book and price/sales ratios can be very effective ways to find good stocks. He uses his Guru Strategies, which are based on the approaches of some of history’s most successful investors, to find attractively valued stocks using non-earnings metrics. Among those he highlights: The Mosaic Company, which gets high marks from his Benjamin Graham-based model.