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Understanding the Cape Ratio

25 Sep 2023

Introduction: What is the CAPE Ratio?

Developed by renowned economist Robert Shiller, the Cyclically Adjusted Price to Earnings (CAPE) ratio is a valuable metric for assessing the long-term valuation of stocks and markets. It is commonly referred to as CAPEShiller P/E, or P/E 10 ratio. The price-to-earnings ratio measures the current market price of a stock relative to its earnings per share (EPS) over the past twelve months. However, the CAPE ratio is more comprehensive.

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How is the CAPE Ratio Calculated?

1) Obtain the earnings data for the past ten years, and adjust it to the inflation

2) Calculate the average of these earnings figures.

3) Divide the current stock price or market index value by the average earnings figure from Step 2.

The result is the CAPE ratio, which represents how many times the average earnings investors are willing to pay for a unit of stock or market index.

Advantages of CAPE ratio

This ratio averages short-term fluctuations and provides a more stable view of a company's or market's earnings potential. One of the important advantages of the CAPE ratio is its ability to account for market cycles. The P/E ratio is usually influenced by economic booms and recessions, leading to potentially skewed valuations. In contrast, the CAPE ratio adjusts earnings for the business cycle, allowing investors to assess whether a stock or market is overvalued or undervalued, regardless of the current economic conditions.

What does the CAPE ratio indicate?

When the CAPE ratio is high, it suggests that stocks or the overall market may be overvalued, making it a less favorable time to invest. Conversely, if it is low, it may indicate undervaluation and present an attractive entry point for investors.

Limitations of CAPE Ratio

CAPE ratio has a limited ability to predict short-term market movements. However, it is important to remember that this metric is a long-term valuation tool and may not provide timely signals for traders looking to capitalize on short-term price fluctuations. Investors should complement CAPE ratio analysis with other indicators when making investment decisions.

Additionally, it does not account for changes in accounting practices or shifts in market dynamics. Furthermore, it may not be as effective in assessing the valuation of growth or emerging stocks, which often have lower earnings in their early years but strong growth potential.


The CAPE ratio is a valuable tool for investors seeking a long-term perspective on stock and market valuation. It offers a more comprehensive view of earnings by considering a 10-year period and adjusts for inflation, making it particularly useful for assessing market cycles. While it may not be a perfect predictor of short-term market movements and has its limitations, the CAPE ratio remains a valuable addition to an investor's toolkit.


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