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Stock Value vs. Price: What’s the Difference?

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This infographic is available as a poster.

Stock Value

Stock Value

This infographic is available as a poster.

Stock Value vs. Price: What’s the Difference?

From the Dutch Tulip Mania of the 17th century to the Roaring Twenties, asset bubbles have cropped up in markets persistently.

The recent activity in GameStop and other securities are no exception. But what does this mean for investors today? To answer this question, we return to a key principle of investing: the difference between a stock’s price versus its value.

This Markets in a Minute chart from New York Life Investments shows the key forces that impact both price and value to help investors harness a deeper understanding of their investments.

What Determines a Stock’s Value?

A company (represented by a stock) derives its value from fundamental factors including:

Earnings

Earnings, or profitability, is often an indicator of company performance. Past and present numbers indicate a company’s profitability thus far, while future earning projections help investors gauge potential performance going forward. This is germane to investors because a company will typically reinvest its earnings into the business or distribute them as dividends to investors.

Market Share

Companies with strong market share possess economic moats, which create a barrier against competitors. These moats can protect a company from new market entrants or allow for cost advantages, increasing the company’s value to investors.

P/E ratio and Other Metrics

The price-to-earnings (P/E) ratio is a common metric for valuing companies. It measures a company’s price in relation to its earnings per share (EPS). If a company has a low P/E ratio compared to its peers, this may suggest that it is undervalued.

Here are common metrics used to value a stock:

MetricFormulaPurpose
P/E ratioPrice/Earnings Per ShareCompares a company’s stock price relative to its earnings
P/B ratioPrice/Book Value Per ShareCompares a company’s stock price relative to its tangible net asset value
Debt-to-equity ratioTotal Liabilities/Total Shareholders’ EquityShows company leverage, or the extent that a company is financing operations through debt

Competitors (Current and Potential)

Comparing a company against its peers can indicate its relative strength. An investor may discover value discrepancies between competitors, presenting potential investment opportunities.

What Determines a Stock’s Price?

A stock’s price, on the other hand, is typically influenced by a separate set of factors:

Investor Demand

Supply and demand is central to determining the price of a stock. When an influx of market participants are buying a stock, the market price will rise. If the number of sellers for a stock exceeds the number of buyers, the price may drop.

Broad Market Trends

Bull and bear markets are examples of primary markets, which may influence a stock’s price performance. Rallies or directional turnarounds are other types of shorter market trends which often last between two to eight weeks.

Media and Analyst Reports

When a company faces a controversy, media reports may influence investor behavior, causing them to sell. Conversely, a strong analyst rating may influence investors to buy.

Economic Factors

Across asset classes, six macroeconomic factors have been shown to explain 90% of a stock price’s movements: real rates, economic growth, liquidity, inflation, emerging markets, and credit.

Company News

When a company releases quarterly earnings reports, it may influence investor demand. If Apple’s company’s earnings exceed expectations, for instance, its stock price may consequently rise after the announcement.

In the short term, many of the variables that influence a stock’s price are driven by external forces. But in the long term, fundamental factors such as profit margins or earnings, often play a bigger role.

Forest For the Trees

With the above factors in mind, investors are better equipped to recognize the driving forces that underscore a stock’s price and value, especially in the face of volatility and market exuberance.

By knowing these core differences, investors will not only get a better awareness of their portfolios, but will learn how to make more rational investment decisions.

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Markets in a Minute

Four Types of ESG Strategies for Investors

Amid a global wave of green investment, this graphic breaks down four types of environmental, social, and governance (ESG) strategies.

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ESG Strategies

This infographic is available as a poster.

Four Types of ESG Strategies for Investors

In recent years, sustainable investment strategies have shown a number of benefits for investors, from resilience in market downturns to share outperformance in the long-term.

Meanwhile, investor interest has skyrocketed—with environmental, social, and governance (ESG) indexes advancing 40% between 2019 and 2020 alone. Given the increased demand for green investments, investors have an ever-expanding list of options to choose from. But what ESG approach is the right fit for you?

To answer this question, this Markets in a Minute chart from New York Life Investments looks at the primary strategies used in ESG investing to help investors choose the approach that works best for their portfolio.

What Kind of Investor are You?

Broadly speaking, there are four main approaches to ESG investing: ESG integration, exclusionary investing, inclusionary investing, and impact investing.

1. ESG Integration

“I want to integrate ESG factors and traditional factors to assess the risk/reward profile of my investment.”

For example, using an ESG integration approach, a company’s water usage and toxic emissions would be assessed against financial factors to analyze any future risks or investment opportunities.

2. Exclusionary Investing

“I want to screen out controversial companies or sectors that do not meet my sustainability criteria.”

Using an exclusionary investing approach, an investor may screen out companies whose revenues are from tobacco, gambling, or fossil fuels.

Related ESG Terms:

  • Negative Screening
  • Negative Selection
  • Socially Responsible Investing (SRI)

3. Inclusionary Investing

“I want to seek out companies that are ranked highly in their sector based on sustainability criteria.”

With an inclusionary approach, a fund may include the leading companies in a sector, relative to their peers, such as the top performing tech companies in ESG.

Related ESG Terms:

  • Positive Screening
  • Positive Selection
  • Best-In-Class
  • Positive Tilt
  • Thematic Investing

4. Impact Investing

“I want to invest in companies that attempt to deliver a measurable social and/or environmental impact alongside financial returns.”

Lastly, impact investing approaches may focus specifically on renewable energy companies that have the intent to make a positive environmental impact.

Related ESG Terms:

  • Goal-Based Investing
  • Thematic Investing

ESG Investing Strategies, By Market

How does interest in ESG strategies vary according to geographical region? Overall, interest has increased across all regions globally (where data was available).

Interest in ESG By Market*20182020
India98%100%
Mainland China95%98%
UAE90%94%
MexicoN/A92%
France79%91%
Brazil82%90%
JapanN/A88%
Hong Kong, SAR China71%86%
South AfricaN/A83%
Germany64%81%
Singapore77%78%
United Kingdom51%77%
Canada49%68%
Australia49%65%
U.S.49%57%

*With interest in these strategies and already employing them
Source: CFA Institute (Dec, 2020)

At the top was India, where 100% of respondents expressed interest or were already using ESG strategies—up from 96% in 2018.

In fact, India developed National Voluntary Guidelines on Social, Environmental, and Economic Responsibilities of Business as far back as 2011. This was designed as a guideline for responsible business conduct, which later aligned to the UN Sustainable Development Goals in 2016.

Following closely behind were investors in China (98%) and UAE (94%).

By contrast, 57% of investors in the U.S. employed ESG strategies—the lowest among geographic regions. Despite this, in the last two years, this figure jumped 8%, and it may rise higher yet given U.S. president Joe Biden’s new climate priorities. Electric grid and clean energy, decarbonization, and electric vehicle incentives all fall under a massive $2 trillion infrastructure plan, which will likely have a significant impact on the dialogue surrounding ESG.

Going Green

As the global drive for ESG investment continues to rise, investors can harness a greater understanding of different ESG strategies to meet their personal objectives—whether it is risk/reward analysis, seeking out ESG top performers, or a measurable environmental impact.

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Markets in a Minute

Visualizing U.S. Stock Ownership Over Time (1965-2019)

The proportion of U.S. stock owned by foreigners has climbed to 40%, while U.S. stock ownership within taxable accounts has decreased.

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Stock Ownership

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U.S. Stock Ownership Over Time (1965-2019)

The U.S. stock market is the largest in the world, with total U.S. stock ownership amounting to almost $40 trillion in 2019. But who owns all these equities?

In this Markets in a Minute from New York Life Investments, we show the percentage of U.S. stock owned by various groups, and how the proportions have changed over time.

The Groups Who Own U.S. Stock

Based on calculations from the Tax Policy Center, here is the breakdown of U.S. stock ownership as of the year 2019.

CategoryShare of U.S. StockValue
Foreigners40%$16.0T
Retirement accounts30%$12.0T
Taxable accounts24%$9.5T
Non-profits5%$2.0T
Government1%$368B

Foreigners own the most U.S. stock. Their portion of ownership has grown rapidly, climbing from about 5% in 1965 to 40% in 2019. Foreign ownership exists in two forms: portfolio holdings and foreign direct investment. The former includes holdings with less than 10% of voting stock, while the latter refers to voting stock of 10% or more.

Why has foreign ownership increased so substantially? According to the Tax Policy Center, the growth appears unrelated to U.S. corporate tax rates. Instead, the increase is likely a result of globalization, as U.S. holdings of foreign stock climbed at a similar rate over the same timeframe.

Outside of foreigners, the largest domestic ownership groups are retirement accounts and taxable accounts. Stock ownership within taxable accounts has decreased by 56 percentage points since 1965. On the flip side, U.S. households have increased stock ownership within tax-advantaged retirement accounts, which now amounts to 30% of all U.S. stock holdings.

Retirement Accounts: A Closer Look

The proportion of U.S. stock held in defined benefit plans has decreased substantially since 1965.

U.S. Stock Ownership in Retirement Accounts

Note: life insurance separate accounts are reserves that fund annuities or life insurance policies.

This drop is partly due to the general decline in private employers offering defined benefit plans. Since these pension plans guarantee employees a set amount in retirement, they present a large long-term funding burden.

At the same time, there has been a corresponding increase in U.S. stock ownership within defined contribution plans and individual retirement accounts (IRAs). This reflects the fact that many investors are facing more responsibility, as they must take charge of their portfolios in order to build a sufficient nest egg for retirement.

The Future of U.S. Stock Ownership

Compared to 50 years ago, the composition of U.S. stock ownership today looks very different.

Foreign ownership has increased as globalization took hold, though it’s hard to say if this rise will continue. Since 2017, foreign direct investment in the U.S. has decreased. Not only that, China surpassed the U.S. as the top destination for foreign direct investment in 2020.

In addition, the shift to particular tax-advantaged retirement accounts has been a relatively recent one. For instance, IRAs didn’t exist before 1978, and defined contribution plans started becoming popular in 1980. As circumstances continue to evolve, how will U.S. stock ownership change over the next 50 years?

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