Shares are way down. They are still expensive.

US equities are off to their worst year-on-year start in more than half a century. Some measures still make them look expensive.

Wall Street often uses the ratio of a company’s stock price to earnings as a benchmark to determine whether a stock appears cheap or pricey. By that measure, the market as a whole had been unusually expensive over the past two years, a period when particularly lenient monetary policy boosted the popular belief that low interest rates left investors few alternatives to stocks.

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