Let’s say you’re sitting at “Jeopardy” and are asked the following question. The shares of which region and sector currently have the highest valuation? The choices are: U.S. technology stocks, European industrials, healthcare companies from the Pacific region or cyclical consumer goods manufacturers from the emerging markets. Pascal Kielkopf would have known the answer. Would you?

In his new research, the capital markets analyst at HQ Trust has broken down the MSCI ACWI global equity index into its individual regions and respective sectors and calculated the corresponding price-to-earnings (P/E) ratios at year-end 2022. To do this, he looks at the four major investment regions – North America, Europe, the Pacific and emerging markets – as well as the 11 sectors.

– “U.S. technology stocks are far from the most expensive sector in the world. In every region, there is at least one sector that has a higher P/E ratio.”

– “Of the three most highly valued sectors in the world, none currently come from North America: consumer cyclicals from emerging markets, followed by healthcare companies from the Pacific Rim and emerging markets are all more expensive.”

– “Although stocks from North America are currently priced significantly higher than the other regions, with a P/E of 19.2, they come in at the highest P/E in only 4 of 11 sectors.”

Pascal Kielkopf’s detailed view shows how important it is to also look at the exact background in such an analysis:

– “Investors should not only look at country or sector P/E ratios, but pay attention to how the results came about.”

– “For example, individual stocks in certain regional sectors have enormous weight. Australia’s Woodside Energy, for example, alone accounts for nearly half (43.5%) of Pacific energy companies.”

– “Accordingly, there are often only a few companies that determine the sector’s valuation.”

– “In what is currently the world’s most expensive regional sector – emerging market cyclical consumer goods manufacturers – the 3 Chinese online retailers Alibaba, Meituan and JD are almost exclusively responsible for the extraordinarily high valuation.”

– “Calling US techs the most expensive sector would not be entirely wrong about the ACWI. Due to their high weight, they pull up index valuation the most.”