Value Investors, It's Time to Start Looking Abroad for Bargains

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Is the U.S. equities market overvalued? Are we about to head into another recession?

If so, it might be time to invest elsewhere in the world. 

Most people think it's relatively safe to invest in a fund tied to the S&P 500 index such as the SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust (SPY) . But it might be smarter to invest in a fund tied to the economy of other countries. Why? Because thanks to one financial metric, the Cyclically Adjusted Price to Earnings Ratio, or CAPE, the S&P is overvalued, and there could be better bargains elsewhere for value investors.

Read More: 7 Stocks Warren Buffett Is Selling in 2014

CAPE, for which economist Robert J. Shiller won a Nobel Prize in Economics in 2013, is a ratio for the stock price divided by the average of 10 years of earnings (moving average), adjusted for inflation.

Recently, Schiller contemplated the reason for "lofty market valuations." He said that as of July the S&P has a CAPE ratio of over 26, which is much higher than the average. During the S&P 500's history it has only had a CAPE value of 26 three other times going back to 1871:

1. 1929 - just before the Great Depression

2. 2000 - just before the dot-com bubble burst

3. 2007 - just before the housing bubble burst

In the chart above the red line shows the levels above 26 -- and the S&P 500 has now for the fourth time exceeded this upper region. So if you are looking for value in the market it might be wise to consider alternatives elsewhere in the world.

Here is another chart showing the current rankings of various economies around the world. Within this chart we find that the United States is ranked around 39th of 40 countries, just recently surpassing Indonesia as of the start of September. The United States is only surpassed by Denmark, which has a CAPE of 30.9. As of early September the U.S. CAPE edged over 27.

Read More: Why Apple Pay Is So Important to Apple's Future

To put this in context, countries that were hit hardest by the global economic crisis of 2008 to 2009 such as Greece have the lowest CAPE value, coming in at a deeply discounted earnings to price of 3.4, followed by Russia at 5.1.

If you liked this article you might like

Market Is on the Straight and (Very) Narrow

Look Back to Go Forward

Stock Observations; Reviewing Equities: Doug Kass' Views

Even North Korea's Kim Jong Un Can't Stop This Epic S&P 500 Stock Rally

Robots Might Be Biggest Obstacle for Stock Market Bears