Buffett Indicator: What is it? How can it be used to check if US stocks are getting expensive? Know how it works.

The Warren Buffett Indicator, also known as market cap-to-GDP, is the ratio of the total value of the US stock market to the GDP of the country.

 combined market cap of companies to the country’s GDP
  • The Buffett indicator expresses the stock market valuation of any country in terms of its economy. So, the stocks are deemed expensive when the indicator rises above 100. 
  • Due to the stock market's highly volatile nature, this indicator often fluctuates over time. 
  • Thus, it is required to calculate the average Buffett indicator to identify overvalued or undervalued companies. 

Stock market evaluation helps traders determine their proper entry and exit positions. The market regulators and stock market experts keep a close eye on the stocks and the market-wide valuations using several indicators. The Warren Buffett indicator is one such indicator that helps investors to make informed decisions while investing. 

What Does the Warren Buffett Indicator Mean? 

The Buffett Indicator is the ratio of any country’s total market capitalisation (including all the listed stocks) to its overall GDP. Due to the high volatility of the stock market, this indicator fluctuates over time. 

The Warren Buffett Indicator is also referred to as the market cap-to-GDP ratio. It allows you to compare the overall market valuation of the countries to their total annual economic output. Moreover, It aims to identify whether a nation's stock market is overvalued or undervalued. 

Also Read: Tips to spot bull or bear run in the stock market.

How Does the Buffett Indicator Work in the Stock Market?

Due to the high volatility of the stock index, various factors affect the share prices of companies, eventually affecting market-wide capitalisation. The fluctuation in GDP happens slowly and gradually, unlike stocks in the share market. Therefore, to calculate the indicator, you must find the average Buffett indicator to make a better investment decision. 

These average Buffett indicators will work as the baseline, which an investor can plot on the line graph. The points above the baseline, i.e., average Buffett indicators, will be considered overvalued and vice versa. 

The following table shows the working of the Buffett indicator.

working of the Buffett indicator

Who can use this Buffett Indicator for investment?

Investors willing to invest in large index funds rather than investing in individual stocks use the Buffett indicator. They can find this indicator helpful in understanding indexes’ valuations. Investors should invest in a particular company when it is undervalued with a relatively low price and valuation but has better prospects of rising in the future. 

Also Read: Invest in these top stocks with attractive returns.

The Warren Buffett Indicator acts as the yardstick for stock market investments. Investors use it for long-term investments. It is not suitable for short-term investments, as it considers overall market-wide capitalisation and total GDP.


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