Europe News

Shiller sees Greece, Russia buying opportunity


There are still attractive valuations in global stock markets, according to Nobel Prize-winning economist Robert Shiller, who spoke of the merits of both Greek and Russian investments, despite ongoing volatility in both countries.

Shiller helped to create the cyclically adjusted price-to-earnings (CAPE) ratio which measures average inflation-adjusted earnings for stock indexes over the previous 10 years.

The level for the currently stands at 27, which Shiller described as "high" but not "super high". However, he added that it is not high in every country and every sector.

"In Europe it's much, much, lower....just looking at CAPE for Russia, under 8. The U.S. hasn't been that low since 1982, I think. There are variations, it's not a simple world," he told CNBC Wednesday.

When asked whether he thought that meant investors should buy Russian investments, on a 5- to 10-year basis, he said: "That might be a good strategy, CAPE for Greece is under 4."

The economists added: "Some people say that everything is overpriced right now, well there's some truth to that, but there's also still a lot of opportunities. The other thing is sectors within countries - you can go into low price sectors."

Greece is once again facing major economic uncertainty after the anti-austerity Syriza Party won parliamentary elections on Sunday. The Athens stock exchange lost over 12 percent in the three days following the vote, with banking stocks in the country tanking around 35 percent.

Meanwhile in Russia, the RTS index lost 47 percent last year on the back of economic sanctions from the West and a dramatic drop in the oil price. The country now expected to fall into recession in 2015.

Robert Shiller, Yale University Professor of Economics, co-founder of Case-Shiller Index
Adam Jeffery | CNBC

Shiller isn't the only market-watcher to see such volatility as an opportunity.

Equity analyst Paul Gambles, managing partner at the financial advisory group MBMG Group, has also spoken of the attractiveness of Russia following the sharp correction in valuations over the last 12 months.

Gambles even said that Russia's MICEX Index could be a better investment than shares in technology giant Apple.

However others have criticized the valuation indicator that Shiller helped create.

Charles Dumas, chief economist at London-based forecasting consultancy Lombard Street, said he believes the CAPE ratio can support both bullish and bearish views.

In research published last year, Dumas argued that an indicator which includes the Great Depression, two world wars and the Cold War into its long-run average makes it an "unduly poor comparator".