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As U.S. Equity Markets approach their historic peak levels, it’s important to bear in mind how different valuation levels are now when compared to the levels that prevailed at past peaks. When the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index first approached the 1500 mark in late 1999, the Index traded on a price/normalized earnings ratio of 36.7. At the next peak prior to the Financial Crisis of 2008, the same ratio was a more modest 22.2. By contrast, the current market implies a valuation of 17.7 times normalized earnings. While not a historic bargain, it represents a far less demanding view of future earnings power.