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Buffett Indicator Signals Potential Overvaluation

Analyst Team trader
Updated 8 Jul 2024

The stock market has shown remarkable performance in the first half of 2024, with the S&P 500 (^GSPC) climbing 14.5%, marking the 15th best start in the past 96 years. Yet, amidst this upswing, the Buffett indicator—which compares the total market capitalisation to Gross Domestic Product (GDP)—is nearing an all-time high, suggesting the market could be overvalued.

In particular, the tech giant NVIDIA (NASDAQ:NVDA) has played a notable role, accounting for 3.5% of the S&P 500's overall increase. This trend is underscored by the concentration in specific stocks, as the top 10 stocks in the index represent a staggering 77% of its total gain—the second-largest percentage in history. This hints at the presence of significant weight in a few large players, rather than a broad-based advance.


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The US stock market has notably outperformed its global counterparts, yielding a 502% return over the past sixteen years, dwarfing the gains seen in both global and emerging markets. The investment landscape has largely been characterised by the dominance of heavyweight companies; hedge funds' top holdings spotlight this trend, with popular picks including Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT), Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN), Google (NASDAQ:GOOG), Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL), and Meta (NASDAQ:META).

When glancing at the performance of different stock exchanges around the world thus far into 2024, it’s clear that growth is not consistent across the board: the Nikkei leads with a 22.26% rise;

Followed closely by the Nasdaq at 22.14%;

European exchanges like the FTSE MIB and DAX trail behind, with increases of 11.98% and 10.29%, respectively, indicative of a varying pace of growth in different geographies.

The divergent performance raises a fundamental question for investors: is the market's trajectory sustainable or is caution warranted? The Buffett indicator's warning may prompt investors to recalibrate their strategies, emphasising diversification and risk management. This is particularly pertinent given the indicator's historical track record as a harbinger of major market corrections, emphasizing its role as a critical reference point for investors seeking to balance the pursuit of growth against potential brewing excesses.

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The AskTraders Analyst Team features experts in technical and fundamental analysis, as well as traders specializing in stocks, forex, and cryptocurrency.