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某位投资界大佬这样预测股市

Shawn Tully 2018年02月11日

知名私募股权投资人托尼·詹姆斯发表极为悲观的看法,在互联网上引发了热议。

上周一,知名私募股权投资人托尼·詹姆斯在CNBC上对股市发表了与众不同而且极为悲观的看法。他的观点已在互联网上引发了热议,而且值得进一步探讨。在电视商业节目中几乎听不到这样的分析,因为垄断这些节目的是永远乐观向上的华尔街分析师、交易员和市场策略分析师,而他的话恰恰是投资者需要听到的“逆耳忠言”。

作为黑石集团总裁兼首席运营官,詹姆斯周一上午参加了CNBC早间节目Squawk Box。其目的是简要介绍自己的新书,该书内容是倡导通过政策来实施鼓励劳动者为退休存钱。主持人不可避免地询问了詹姆斯对始于上周的股市抛售大潮有何看法。在探讨市场的短短2分12秒时间里,詹姆斯说广泛获得认可的高股价依据,以及今后还会大涨的预期都是一厢情愿,他还用几条关键理由进行了解释。

股票估值过高

主持人问:“你是说股市估值过高吗?”詹姆斯答道:“是的。”接下来他警告说:“今年某个时候股市很可能回调10-20%。”这让主播贝基·奎克、安德鲁·罗斯·索金和嘉宾主持凯文·奥利里大吃一惊。

为什么股票价值高估了这么多而且容易急剧下跌呢?詹姆斯说:“如果你问人们[对股市的看法],他们说的并不是股票估值合理,而是如果你真的想获得回报,股市是唯一的去处。”一位主播随后提出了通常的看法,那就是因为这些年来利率一直处于极低水平,股票看来是唯一能获取出色回报的途径,即便在股价很高的情况下。

利率或许很快就会上升

显然,詹姆斯对“唯一途径”的说法并不感冒。要想知道原因,就让我们暂时后退一步。投资者期望通过持有股票获得的回报取决于两个因素:一个是能和股票相提并论的无风险债券剔除通胀因素后的利率,另一个则是股票风险溢价(ERP),也就是人们要求的超过国债的那部分额外收益率,用于补偿持有股票的不确定性。如果实际利率和ERP大幅上升,股价就可能下跌,原因是投资者给未来收益打的折扣实际上要高得多。

詹姆斯谨慎地表示利率或许很快就会猛涨。他说:“经济已经上行了一段时间。如果你担心利率和通胀,[新的减税措施]带来的刺激可能让我们转而向加息迈进。”美国10年期国债收益率已升至2.8%的四年高点。詹姆斯其实是在说,实际利率上升将压低目前的极高估值。可能他还加了句话——当市场开始波动,就像刚刚出现的情况那样,投资者持有股票时要求的ERP就会比现在高得多。

实际上,当前看好股市所依据的假设是:目前极低的实际利率和股票略高于债券的收益率将一直持续下去。但情况并非如此,实际利率和ERP都一直在变,而且它们只有一个方向,那就是上涨,这推动股价向反方向发展。

乐观派对减税的期望太大

去年12月美国国会通过大规模削减公司税法案,股市再次得到有力提振。但詹姆斯认为,大幅削减公司税带来的初始收益中,有很大一部分可能不会流入利润中,反而会成为新的支出。换句话说,税率从35%降至21%带来的这部分初始收益可能迅速在公司竞争中消耗殆尽。这有可能(也应该)有助于经济,但未必对股东有好处。

詹姆斯说:“我觉得市场高估了一件事,那就是减税将带来的利润增长。许多公司高管都在说减免的税额里给股东的会有多少,用于研发的会有多少,提高工资的会有多少。市场认为所有这一切都会转换成利润。”

事实却非如此。最有可能的情况是,减税鼓励公司投资和扩张,因为新投资的回报率将上升。和35%的税率相比,21%的税率会让比以前多得多的投资看起来可以盈利。但要实现增长,公司就需要在厂房、专利和收购方面投入重金,并在这个过程中把大量资金花在员工、研发和客户服务上。随着成本上升,资本回报率将回到正常水平。税收是一项成本,如果某个既定行业中大家的成本都突然下降,大多数收益就会流向消费者和企业员工。削减公司税预示着盈利能力极高的新时代是华尔街的神话。

令人震惊的警告还是常识?

美国股市已从1月底的高点回落4%。如果再下滑16%,也就是按詹姆斯预测的下跌区间高端计算,标普500指数就会回调到2300点,过去12个月的涨幅就会被一扫而空。

20%的跌幅将使标普500指数的市盈率从目前逾24倍的高点降至19倍,接近1990年以来的平均值。但仍不会有人大张旗鼓地推荐买入股票,原因是公司业绩接近历史最高点,也就是说市盈率中的分母,或者说“公司收益”处于较高水平。因此,即便按照詹姆斯设想的最糟糕情景,股价依然偏高。

对看好股市的人来说,听到詹姆斯的话就像一头扎进冰水里。得意的投资者应对这番“警世之言”表示欢迎,并且遵从詹姆斯的警告。在托尼·詹姆斯和华尔街集体思维的对决中,胜者显然是詹姆斯。(财富中国网)

译者:Charlie

审稿:夏林

Tony James, a renowned private equity investor, presented a highly contrarian, sharply negative view on the stock market on CNBC on Monday. His call has already set the Internet abuzz, but it’s worth a closer look. It’s the kind of analysis you seldom hear on TV business shows, where the coverage is dominated by Wall Street analysts, traders and market strategists who are relentlessly upbeat. And it’s exactly the tough talk that investors need to hear.

On Monday morning James, the president and COO of Blackstone, appeared on CNBC’s early morning show Squawk Box. He was there chiefly to discuss his new book, which advocates policies encouraging workers to save for retirement. Inevitably, the hosts asked James for his perspective on the big selloff that began the previous week. In just two minutes and 12 seconds of discussion on the markets, James made several crucial points explaining why widely accepted justifications for today’s lofty prices, and forecasts of big gains to come, amount to wishful thinking.

Stocks are overvalued

Asked, “Are you saying the stock market is overvalued?” James replied, “Yes,” then proceeded to shock anchors Becky Quick and Andrew Ross Sorkin and guest host Kevin O’Leary by warning, “We could easily see a 10% to 20% correction at some time this year.”

Why are shares so overpriced and vulnerable to a steep fall? “If you ask people [about stocks], they don’t make the case that stocks are fairly valued,” said James. “They make the case that if you want any return, it’s the only place to go.” An anchor then expressed the conventional view that since interest rates have remained extremely low for years, stocks–even at high prices–look like the only alternative offering decent returns.

Rates may spike soon

Clearly, James isn’t buying the “only-place-to-go” argument. To understand why, let’s step back for a moment. The returns investors expect for owning equities depend on two factors: The inflation-adjusted rate on risk-free bonds that compete with stocks; and what’s known as the equity risk premium (ERP), the extra margin that folks demand–over and above the yield on Treasuries–to compensate for the uncertainty of holding stocks. If the real rate and the ERP rise substantially, equity prices are likely to fall, since in effect, investors are applying a much higher discount rate to future earnings.

James cautioned that rates may soon jump. “The economy has been picking up for a while,” he said. “If you’re worried about interest rates and inflation, the stimulus [from the new tax cuts] could be the thing that tips us over to a rate spike.” The yield on the 10-year Treasury has already surged to 2.8%, a four-year high. James is essentially saying that rising real rates will undermine today’s giant valuations. He might have added that when markets turn volatile–and they just did–investors are going to demand a much higher ERP to own stocks.

In reality, the present-day bull case relies on the assumption that today’s slender real rates and the narrow extra margin stocks offer versus bonds are a permanent fixture. They’re not; both real rates and the ERP are constantly changing. And they’re headed just one way, up, pushing stock prices in the opposite direction.

The bulls are betting too much on the tax cut

Stock prices got another big boost after Congress enacted a huge package of corporate tax cuts in December. But James argues that much of the initial bounty from the sharp reduction in corporate taxes could flow not to profits, but to new spending. In other words, companies could quickly compete away the early extra profits flowing from the reduction in rates from 35% to 21%. That could (and should) be helpful to the economy, but it won’t necessarily boost shareholders.

“One thing I think the market is over-estimating is the amount of added earnings that the tax cut will bring,” said James. “One of the things that lots of executive are talking about is how much of the tax cut goes to shareholders, how much of it goes to R&D, to higher wages. The market’s thinking it all goes to earnings.”

It won’t. The most likely outcome: the cuts encourage companies to invest and expand because the rates of return on new investment will rise. A lot more investments will look profitable at 21% than at 35%. But to grow, companies will need to invest heavily in plants, patents and acquisitions, and in the process spend a lot more on workers, R&D and customer service. As costs rise, returns on capital will return to normal levels. Taxes are a cost, and if everyone’s costs in an given industry suddenly fall, the benefits will mostly flow to consumers and workers. It’s a Wall Street myth that lower corporate taxes herald a new era of sumptuous profitability.

Shocking warning, or common sense?

Stock prices have tumbled by 4% from the highs of late January. If the S&P 500 drops by another 16%, the high end of James’s prediction, the index would retreat to 2300. All the gains of the past 12 months would vanish.

A 20% decline would lower the P/E on the S&P 500 from it’s current, highly elevated status of over 24 to 19, around its average since 1990. Stocks still wouldn’t be a screaming buy, because earnings are near historic peaks, meaning that the denominator, the “E,” is inflated. So even under James’s most dire scenario, stocks would remain expensive.

For the bulls, listening to James is like getting doused in ice water. Complacent investors should welcome the jolt and heed his warning. In the contest of Tony James versus Wall Street group-think, James is the clear winner.

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