What Stock Prices Have Gotten Stupid?: Ritholtz Chart

Barry Ritholtz is a Bloomberg View columnist. He founded Ritholtz Wealth Management and was chief executive and director of equity research at FusionIQ, a quantitative research firm. He blogs at the Big Picture and is the author of “Bailout Nation: How Greed and Easy Money Corrupted Wall Street and Shook the World Economy.”
Read More.
a | A

I wanted to point you to a quick chart from Ethan Harris and hisglobal research team at Bank of America Merrill Lynch. It addresses something I have referenced before -- the idea that so many folks could be accurately spotting a bubble in real time with any degree of accuracy.

The argument I made is admittedly squishy, not relying on quantitative data or pricing. Several of you pointed this out, to which I pleaded guilty. So I started looking for more price-driven examples that might make the same case.

Hence, Harris's chart above. When we look at the prior peaks, and the run that took markets there, it is pretty obvious in hindsight that prices had gotten stupid.

Which leads me to this question: What prices today are utterly stupid? What has run up with no logical explanation?

I see lots of asset classes that have had great runs, but nothing I can point out as insane. Even the 160 percent S&P 500 rally follows a 57 percent drop, and a 140 percent earnings gain from the lows. That's somewhat above median, but not unprecedented.

Question: What specific prices are revealing of a bubble?

This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of Bloomberg View's editorial board or Bloomberg LP, its owners and investors.

To contact the author on this story:
Barry L Ritholtz at britholtz3@bloomberg.net