Saturday, October 24, 2015

Bogle looking at a 4% total return for stock

Benz: Jack, one of the topics we always cover at this conference is your expected return forecast for various asset classes. Let's start with U.S. equities.

Bogle: Well, for U.S. equities, I have a simple formula, as you know. It says divide it up into two segments: One is investment return and the other is speculative return. Investment return is the present dividend yield--a little over 2%--and the earnings growth that follows. And I think it's going to be a little bit of a push for that earnings growth to get to 6%--but I'm going to use 6%. So, that would be an 8% investment return on stocks.

Now, when you get to speculative return, that's whether the P/E ratio go up and pump that up or go down and deflate it. And I look at the P/E from the perspective of past reported earnings--GAAP earnings, as we say it--at being about 20 times. Wall Street looks at it through forward earnings, but forward expected earnings. So, they're using about a 17 P/E, and I'm using about a 20. I'm going to stick to my guns. To go from 20 to 17, that would be about a 2% annual loss. So, I think the best thing we can expect--and this is higher than I'm going to talk about tomorrow--is that 8%, [or 2% dividend yield and 6% earnings growth]. But in fact, I don't think earnings growth is going to be that good, and so I think the P/E could easily get to a more normal long-term range of 15. So, that would be 3% from that number. So, you'd have an investment return of 2% and 5% for 7%, minus 3% for speculative return. That would be 4% for stocks, and that's not a very good number.

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