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Monday, September 25, 2023

Is Buffet’s Global Market Indicator Signalling a Potential Sell-Off?


Financial markets are always in a state of flux, with the onset of the coronavirus pandemic triggering a sudden and seismic stock market crash in March and April 2020.

Given that wider economic uncertainty remains and the disproportionate relationship that exists between the share price and revenues of global tech firms, many economists are predicting that another market crash may be just around the corner.

According to Warren Buffett’s favourite market indicator, US and international are heavily overpriced and set to plummet in the months ahead. But what exactly does this indicator tell us, and how likely is it that stocks will ultimately crash and burn?


Who is Warren Buffet and What is the Indicator?


Warren Buffett is an iconic American business magnate and investor, who is currently the chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway.

He is considered to be one of the most successful investors in the world, with a net worth of more than $100.9 billion as of September 2021 (making him the tenth-wealthiest person on the planet).

There are two versions of the so-called “Buffett indicator”, with one measuring US stocks and the other tracking global equities. The global version of this tool essentially takes the combined market capitalisation value of the world’s publicly traded stocks and divides this by total GDP, creating a key comparison between share values and wider economic growth.


From a results perspective, a reading above 100% indicates the global stock market is overvalued relative to the world’s economy, while also suggesting that share values are not backed by solid fundamentals and vulnerable to sudden and pronounced losses.


What is the Market Telling Us?


The most recent reading has seen the indicator surge to 142%, suggesting that global stocks are on the brink of a crash and stringent market correction.

To this end, it was thought that global stocks gained a whopping $1.6 trillion in market capitalisation last week alone, as equities grew to be worth a record high of $120.3 trillion throughout the world.

Of course, you can track these movements through your web trading platform, while it’s important to note that the GDP of most western nations has taken a hit as a result of the coronavirus pandemic and subsequent lockdown measures through 2021 and the first half of this year.

While the Buffett indicator isn’t infallible, this most recent reading seems to support the assertions of leading economists across the globe. The investor himself also describes the indicator as “probably the best single measure of where valuations stand at any given moment”, while it definitely highlights an imbalance between market cap values, company earnings and total GDP.

At the very least, this should provide a strong warning for investors as they plan their activity in the coming months, while it could also trigger a sustained sell-off (particularly of noticeably overvalued stocks in the tech space).


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