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Highest Trailing 12-Month P/E Ratio for S&P 500 since 2010


By John Butters  |  August 12, 2016

Yesterday, the value of the S&P 500 index closed at yet another all-time high at 2185.79. The trailing 12-month P/E ratio for the S&P 500 now stands at 19.5, based on yesterday’s closing price (2185.79) and trailing 12-month EPS ($111.89). Given the high values driving the “P” in the P/E ratio, how does this 19.5 P/E ratio compare to historical averages? What is driving the increase in the P/E ratio?

The current trailing 12-month P/E ratio of 19.5 is above the three most recent historical averages: 5-year (15.9), 10- year (15.9), and 15-year (17.6).


In fact, this marked the highest trailing 12-month P/E ratio for the S&P 500 since February 12, 2010, when the trailing 12-month P/E ratio was 22.3. On that date, the closing price of the S&P 500 was 1075.51 and the trailing 12-month EPS was $48.19.

Back on December 31, the trailing 12-month P/E ratio was 17.9. Since this date, the price of the S&P 500 has increased by 6.9% (to 2185.79 from 2043.94), while the trailing 12-month EPS has decreased by 1.9% (to $111.89 from $114.19). Thus, both the increase in the “P” and the decrease in the “E” have driven the increase in the trailing 12-month P/E ratio to 19.5 today from 17.9 at the start of the year.


John Butters

Vice President, Senior Earnings Analyst

Mr. John Butters is Vice President and Senior Earnings Analyst at FactSet. His weekly research report, “Earnings Insight,” provides analysis and commentary on trends in corporate earnings data for the S&P 500 including revisions to estimates, year-over-year growth, performance relative to expectations, and valuations. He is a widely used source for the media and has appeared on CNBC, Fox Business News, and the Business News Network. In addition, he has been cited by numerous print and online publications such as The Wall Street Journal, The Financial Times, The New York Times, MarketWatch, and Yahoo! Finance. Mr. Butters has over 15 years of experience in the financial services industry. Prior to FactSet in January 2011, he worked for more than 10 years at Thomson Reuters (Thomson Financial), most recently as Director of U.S. Earnings Research (2007-2010).


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