# How to Apply the Shiller P/E to Individual Stocks

**By:**GuruFocus

**Posted:**6/27/2012 3:11:00 PM

**Referenced Stocks:**AAPL;DE;PGR;SPY;WMT

Shiller P/E
, invented by Yale professor Robert Shiller, has been very
successful in evaluating current market valuation and predicting
future market returns. It is a great complement of the market
valuation based on the
ratio of total market cap over GDP
. In this article we would like to discuss the interesting
aspects of how to apply the Shiller P/E to individual companies.
In the
new improved 10-year financial page
on GuruFocus, the stock's historical Shiller P/E ratio was added.
A daily chart will be displayed if you click on the row of data.

The Shiller P/E is calculated by dividing the daily stock price
by the multi-year inflation adjusted earnings, E10. Here we use a
similar calculation for individual companies. When we calculate
today's Shiller P/E ratio of a stock, we use today's price
divided by E10.

How do we calculate E10? E10 is the average of the inflation
adjusted earnings of a company over the past 10 years. Let's use
an example to explain.

If we want to calculate the E10 of Walmart (
WMT
) for Dec. 31, 2010, we need to have the inflation data and the
earnings from 2001 through 2010.

We adjusted the earnings of 2001 earnings data with the total
inflation from 2001 through 2010 to the equivalent earnings in
2010. If the total inflation from 2001 to 2010 is 40%, and
Walmart earned $1 a share in 2001, then 2001's equivalent
earnings in 2010 are $1.4 a share. If Walmart earns $1 again in
2002, and the total inflation from 2002 through 2010 is 35%, then
the equivalent 2002 earnings in 2010 are $1.35, and so on and so
forth until you get the equivalent earnings of the past 10 years.
Then you add them together and divide the sum by 10 to get E10.

In our calculation of daily Shiller P/E, we used six years of
average earnings instead of ten years.

What does the Shiller P/E tell us for individual companies? Let's
use a few examples to explain.

Consider a company that is consistently growing at a reasonable
pace, WalMart. The Shiller P/E and regular P/E give similar
pictures.

But for a fast grower like Apple (
AAPL
), the Shiller P/E and regular P/E give a totally different
picture. Below are the regular P/E and Shiller P/E charts for
Apple.

We can see that the regular P/E (ttm) tells us Apple is valued at
about 14 times earnings. But Shiller P/E is suggesting that it is
traded at about 30 times inflation adjusted earnings. A Shiller
P/E of 30 for Apple comes from its tremendous growth.

The Shiller P/E works best for companies with cyclical profit
margins, just as it was designed for the S&P 500. Take a look
at the regular P/E and Shiller P/E of Deere (
DE
).

If we take a look at the regular P/E ratio of Deer at 2009, it is
a reasonable number of 8. But it jumped to 24 suddenly in 2009.
The reason is not because Deere's stock price jumped, but because
Deere's earnings declined dramatically in 2009. The Shiller P/E
of Deere gives you a real picture of the valuation for cyclical
companies like Deere or Progressive Insurance (
PGR
). In this sense, the Shiller P/E works like P/S; it just gives
you a more direct idea of valuation. Because of this, the Shiller
P/E of companies in different industries can be compared.
Comparing the P/S ratios of companies in different industries
does not make much sense.

In conclusion, just as it was designed, the Shiller P/E works
well for companies with more cyclical business in the valuation
of individual companies.

The Shiller P/E is a new item added to the improved 10-Year
Financial Page. It is for Premium Members only. If you are not a
Premium Member, we invite you to take a
7-day Free Trial.
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