Check Out the Buffett-Munger Screener

The Stock Market is Significantly Overvalued. Based on historical ratio of total market cap over GDP (currently at

New: Shiller P/E, also Global Market Valuation: Germany, France, UK, China, India etc.

As pointed by Warren Buffett, the percentage of total market cap (TMC) relative to the US GNP is “probably the best single measure of where valuations stand at any given moment.”

Over the long term, the returns from stock market are determined by these factors:

**1. Interest rate**

Interest rates “act on financial valuations the way gravity acts on matter: The higher the rate, the greater the downward pull. That's because the rates of return that investors need from any kind of investment are directly tied to the risk-free rate that they can earn from government securities. So if the government rate rises, the prices of all other investments must adjust downward, to a level that brings their expected rates of return into line. Conversely, if government interest rates fall, the move pushes the prices of all other investments upward.”—Warren Buffett

**2. Long Term Growth of Corporate Profitability **

Over the long term, corporate profitability reverts to its long term-trend, which is around 6%. During recessions, corporate profit margins shrink, and during economic growth periods, corporate profit margins expand. However, long-term growth of corporate profitability is close to long-term economic growth. The size of the US economy is measured by Gross National Product (GNP). Although GNP is different from GDP (gross domestic product), the two numbers have always been within 1% of each other. For the purpose of calculation, GDP is used here. The U.S. GDP since 1970 is represented by the green line in the first of the three charts to the right.

**3. Market Valuations **

Over the long run, stock market valuation reverts to its mean. A higher current valuation certainly correlates with lower long-term returns in the future. On the other hand, a lower current valuation level correlates with a higher long-term return. The total market valuation is measured by the ratio of total market cap (TMC) to GNP -- the equation representing Warren Buffett's "best single measure". This ratio since 1970 is shown in the second chart to the right. Gurufocus.com calculates and updates this ratio daily. As of **07/06/2015**, this ratio is **124%**.

We can see that, during the past four decades, the TMC/GNP ratio has varied within a very wide range. The lowest point was about 35% in the previous deep recession of 1982, while the highest point was 148% during the tech bubble in 2000. The market went from extremely undervalued in 1982 to extremely overvalued in 2000.

Based on these historical valuations, we have divided market valuation into five zones:

Ratio = Total Market Cap / GDP | Valuation |
---|---|

Ratio < 50% | Significantly Undervalued |

50% < Ratio < 75% | Modestly Undervalued |

75% < Ratio < 90% | Fair Valued |

90% < Ratio < 115% | Modestly Overvalued |

Ratio > 115% | Significantly Overvalued |

Where are we today (07/06/2015)? | Ratio = 124%, Significantly Overvalued |

A quick refresher (Thanks to Greenbacked): GDP is “the total market value of goods and services** produced within the borders of a country**.” GNP is “is the total market value of goods and services **produced by the residents of a country, even if they’re living abroad**. So if a U.S. resident earns money from an investment overseas, that value would be included in GNP (but not GDP).” While the distinction between the two is important because American firms are increasing the amount of business they do internationally, the actual difference between GNP and GDP is minimal as this chart from the St Louis Fed demonstrates:

GDP in Q4 2012 stood at $**15,851.2** billion. GNP at Q3 2012 (the last data point available) stood at $**16,054.2** billion. For our present purposes, one substitutes equally as well for the other.

The returns of investing in an individual stock or in the entire stock market are determined by these three factors:

**1. Business growth **

If we look at a particular business, the value of the business is determined by how much money this business can make. The growth in the value of the business comes from the growth of the earnings of the business growth. This growth in the business value is reflected as the price appreciation of the company stock if the market recognizes the value, which it does, eventually.

If we look at the overall economy, the growth in the value of the entire stock market comes from the growth of corporate earnings. As we discussed above, over thelong term, corporate earnings grow as fast as the economy itself.

**2. Dividends **

Dividends are an important portion of the investment return. Dividends come from the cash earning of a business. Everything equal, a higher dividend payout ratio, in principle, should result in a lower growth rate. Therefore, if a company pays out dividends while still growing earnings, the dividend is an additional return for the shareholders besides the appreciation of the business value.

**3. Change in the market valuation **

Although the value of a business does not change overnight, its stock price often does. The market valuation is usually measured by the well-known ratios such as P/E, P/S, P/B etc. These ratios can be applied to individual businesses, as well as the overall market. The ratio Warren Buffett uses for market valuation, TMC/GNP, is equivalent to the P/S ratio of the economy.

Putting all the three factors together, the return of an investment can be estimated by the following formula:

*Investment Return (%) = Dividend Yield (%)+ Business Growth (%)+ Change of Valuation (%) *

The first two items of the equation are straightforward. The third item can be calculated if we know the beginning and the ending market ratios of the time period (T) considered. If we assumed the beginning ratio is Rb, and the ending ratio is Re, then the contribution in the change of the valuation can be calculated from this:

*(Re/Rb) ^{(1/T)}-1 *

The investment return is thus equal to:

This equation is actually very close to what Dr. John Hussman uses to calculate market valuations. From this equation we can calculate the likely returns an investment in the stock market will generate over a given time period. In the calculation, the time period we used was 8 years, which is about the length of a full economic cycle. The calculated results are shown in the final chart to the right. The green line indicates the expected return if the market trends towards being undervalued (TMC/GNP=40%) over the next 8 years from current levels, the red line indicates the return if the market trends towards being overvalued (TMC/GNP=120%) over the next 8 years. The blue line indicates the return if the market trends towards being fair-valued (TMC/GNP=80%) over the next 8 years.

The thick bright yellow line in the bottom right chart is the actual annualized return of the stock market over 8 years. We use "Wilshire 5000 Full Cap Price Index" to do the actual return calculation. We can see the calculations largely predicted the trend in the returns of the stock market. The swing of the market’s returns is related to the change in interest rates.

It has been unfortunate for investors who entered the market after the late 1990s. Since that time, the market has nearly always been overvalued, only dropping to fairly valued since the declines that began in 2008. Since Oct. 2008, for the first time in 15 years, the market has been positioned for meaningful positive returns.

As of **07/06/2015**, the stock market is likely to return **0.3%** a year in the next 8 years.

Based on these factors, Warren Buffett has made a few market calls in the past. In Nov. 1999, when the Dow was at 11,000, and just a few months before the burst of dotcom bubble, the stock market had gained 13% a year from 1981-1998. Warren Buffett said in a speech to friends and business leaders, “I'd like to argue that we can't come even remotely close to that 12.9... If you strip out the inflation component from this nominal return (which you would need to do however inflation fluctuates), that's 4% in real terms. And if 4% is wrong, I believe that the percentage is just as likely to be less as more.”

Two years after the Nov. 1999 article, when the Dow was down to 9,000, Mr. Buffett said, “I would expect now to see long-term returns run somewhat higher, in the neighborhood of 7% after costs.”

"Nine years have passed since the publication of the article of November 22, 1999, and it has been a wild and painful ride for most investors; the Dow climbed as high as 14,000 in October 2007 and retreated painfully back to 8,000 today." Warren Buffett again wrote in Oct. 2008: "Equities will almost certainly outperform cash over the next decade, probably by a substantial degree."

1. Warren Buffett Stock Picks

2. Buffett-Munger Screener: The stocks young Warren Buffett would buy

3. Market Valuations as measured by Shiller P/E ratio

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## Add Notes, Comments

If you want to ask a question, or report a bug, please create a support ticket.## User Comments

Herbert mordi- 1 week agoFarabounding- 2 weeks agohttp://www.profitconfidential.com/economy/warren-buffett-indicator-market-cap-to-gdp-ratio-overvalued/

Swiss Dividend Investor- 4 weeks agoIm little late to the party, but i would be very interestet to see /have the spreedsheet too. can somebody send me this to [email protected], thanks alot!

Frankie99- 2 months agoI'd love to take a look at your spreadsheet!

E-mail: frankie at fastmail dot fm

Avec- 2 months agoYou might consider using something like Dropbox. Then you can add files you wan't to share and just post the link for other users to download from :-)

Kthomas- 2 months agoWould u mind sending your spreadsheet analysis to [email protected]

Thank u

Auroprem- 3 months agoPlease email me spreadsheet to [email protected]

Thanks

Hans.blake@google- 4 months agoCould you email me your spreadsheet? I'd appreciate it. [email protected]

Thanks.

Ryi- 4 months agoI suggest gurufocus follow the same. [www.multpl.com]

Patel1222@yahoo- 4 months agoCan you email me spreadsheet:

[email protected]

Thanks!

Vetdoc- 5 months agoThanks

[email protected]

MR.SMITH- 5 months agoTunckar- 6 months agocan you send your excel to me [email protected]

thankx

Nbarakjie- 6 months agoplease can you send it to me email [email protected]

Miketace- 6 months ago1991nilesh@google- 6 months ago1991nilesh@google- 6 months ago[email protected]- 6 months agoLuker- 7 months agoI would like to send it to someone for review and to discuss. I feel fairly comfortable posing my E-mail on here if you are interested. Anyway, I am pretty happy with the results but I want to get it analyzed and picked apart. Thanks.

Miketace- 8 months agoFor example at the beginning of 1971 with TMC/GDP at 79% and i=4.9% for a total of 98% one would be out of stocks and would stay out until the beginning July 1974 when TMC/GDP=50% and i=8.2% for a total of 82%. One would not get out of stocks again until the beginning of 1980.

Miketace- 8 months agoMiketace- 8 months agoFloridaWatcher- 10 months agoI don't understand how you use the bollinger bands for timing.

What parameters are you using for number of days? Std deviation?

Bnes- 10 months agoBnes- 11 months agoScottleey- 11 months agoScott

http://thevaluereport.wordpress.com/

RobC- 1 year agoIf you read below the chart it clearly states it is based on 4th qtr 2013 GDP. GDP is subject to multiple revision so I would not be so quick to include the "latest" GDP revisions. The latest 1st QTR GDP is revised to negative which would make the market even more overvalued. The problem is the wall street insiders, ruling political party and the FED are all incentivized to paint a big smiley face on the market and keep the bull market going clearly for now the retail investor is buying all the BS since the VIX is low and market complacency is high due mostly last years strong performance and a lack of any major loses so far this year. The wheels are long overdue to come off but a trigger event has not shown up yet. Putting wide Bollenger bands and MACD on 5 year market index is a better more precise market timing tool.

[email protected]- 1 year agoFA_suitmoney- 1 year ago[email protected]- 1 year agoRobC- 1 year agoIf you count fixed income as more than CD's or short term/medium term bonds. You could own what I own in low cost Vanguard funds. Long Term investment grade corporate ~5%, High Yield Muni bonds about 4% tax free, High Yield B grade corporate bonds about 5.8% actual payout. These bonds are distinct asset classes and tend to cancel each other out on a risk basis. I also own 20% stocks spread among High dividend yield, convertible securities, REITs, and Small Cap so my stock portion is about 3% Yield. Overall my portfolio dividends are about 4.2% on average over the past 5 years my capital gains have also been about 4% per year on average. I am taking some credit risk and duration risk but I have slept like a baby for the past 5 years. After 2008 I was back to even in capital by November 2009.

Mpmassey- 1 year agoHimmat ragab- 1 year agohttp://www.ebuystocks.com/

NeilC- 1 year agoOn a different note, I couldn't find references suggesting that any of the 7Twelve model portfolios tat use either the Buffett-Munger or Schiler P/E screens. Am I missing something?

Moneycontroltips21@facebook- 1 year agoJosh Zachariah- 1 year agoGurufocus- 1 year agoBing Garcia- 1 year agoPjmason14- 1 year agoGurufocus- 2 years agoStephen Neumeier- 2 years agoFA_suitmoney- 2 years agoJussi- 2 years agoI suppose 1970 - 2013 is too short: It includes one normal down period during 70's and beginning of 80's, but bubble of 2000 was mega bubble.

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Gurufocus- 2 years agowe are using different total market cap from what Fortune use. We use Wilshire total market index, which cover about 5000 companies and does not cover private companies.

The important thing here is the current valuation relative to historical mean.

Akarabinos@google- 2 years agohttp://finance.fortune.cnn.com/2013/03/01/warren-buffett-stocks/?iid=HP_Highlight

Gurufocus- 2 years agoTstory- 2 years agoKenokrend- 2 years agoGurufocus- 2 years agothanks!

Aspenhawk- 2 years agoKcst1300- 2 years agoDagoldsteinny- 2 years agoThis is very interesting to me, but since US companies make a significant amount of their revenues and profits overseas, would it not be more accurate to track market cap vs. global GDP? I think that this metric would show the market to be more attractively valued than by looking at US GDP alone.

Ed Rempel- 3 years agoGreat article. When I look at the chart, I can't help but be struck by the fact that it shows the stock market was undervalued through the 1970s and 1980s when inflation was high, and is not slightly overvalued when inflation is low.

The "slightly overvalued" conclusion also conflicts with our forward P/E, which is around 12, vs a normal of 15 and a normal of 20 when interest rates are very low.

In general, companies justify higher valuations when inflation and interest rates are very low. This is because the inverse of the P/E, the E/P or earnings yield tends to compare very favorably to other investments like bonds.

My question is - would this not be a more accurate valuation indicator if it was adjusted for inflation (or the inverse of inflation)? That would bring the 70s and 80s up and recent valuations down, with the net effect that the valuation forecasts would be in a much tighter range.

This strikes me as more accurate, as well. Without allowing for the inflation environment, this valuation may be accurate if you assume that inflation will eventually normalize. However, inflation often stays very high or very low for very long periods.

Wouldn't including an inflation adjustment in this model make it far more accurate and useful as a valuation measure?

Ed

VerbalKint- 3 years agoAs you said yesterday: "we don't have daily Total market cap value in our database. But we can probably do something to make it available."

I'd love it !

When can you do this ?

Would you be able to include a daily refresh of you excel sheet available on download instead of the actual quarter refresh ?

Gurufocus- 3 years ago[web.wilshire.com]

VerbalKint- 3 years agoCould you telle me which data do you use as "total market cap" to calculate your TMC/GDP ratio every day ?

VerbalKint- 3 years agoQhere do you find this data you use every da

Gurufocus- 3 years agowe don't have daily Total market cap value in our database. But we can probably do something to make it available.

VerbalKint- 3 years agoFor the ratio data: the GDP ratio...: ok the GDP is a quarterly data, but the market value is a everyday data: in fact, you give on this page a new ratio everyday...

In conclusion: now that I downloaded you excel sheet with the quarterly GDP data, where can I find the everyday data that you name "Total market cap" ?

With this data, I would be able to create a data sheet, and a TMC/GDP ratio with and everyday value...

Do you have this ? :-)

Gurufocus- 3 years agothe thick blue line is the actual return of the market during the 8-year prediction period. We will not know the actual 8-year return of today's market until 2020 (always add 8 to the current year). That is why data is only available until about 2004 today.

Because GDP data is only available quarterly, all data are quarterly there.

VerbalKint- 3 years agoI downloaded the TMC/GDP data... You put in your excel sheet, the quarter data (4 lines per one year): why don't you give the everyday data, instead of once a quarter ?

VerbalKint- 3 years agoAs a premium member I was expecting a real time data access... Is it correct ?

Polyocho- 3 years agoPolyocho- 3 years agoGurufocus- 3 years agoIt is only for USA.

Premium Members can download the data.

Polyocho- 3 years agoPolyocho- 3 years agoRatio < 50% Significantly Undervalued

50% < Ratio < 75% Modestly Undervalued

75% < Ratio < 90% Fair Valued

90% < Ratio < 115% Modestly Overvalued

Ratio > 115% Significantly Overvalued

Does this hold true for all countries or is it specific to the USA?

Gurufocus- 3 years agoPolyocho- 3 years agoInvestment Return (%) = Dividend Yield (%) + Business Growth(%) + (Re/Rb)(1/T)-1

= Current dividend yield + 10-year average GDP growth rate + (Re/Rb)^(1/T)-1

1. Is "Re" referring to TMC/GDP of any date and Rb (beginning) referring to the TMC/GDP of any earlier date, where T= difference in time? For example if the dates were 1/1/2005 and end date was 1/1/2012 then T=7 years?

Thanks

AJ Post- 3 years agoexpected return? I'm still struggling with that.

AJ Post- 3 years agoGurufocus- 3 years agoSee this part of the equation in the the text: (Re/Rb)(1/T)-1

AJ Post- 3 years agoAJ Post- 3 years agoGurufocus- 3 years agoAJ Post- 3 years agoGreat website as well!

Mpickering- 3 years agoGurufocus- 3 years agoWe can make these data available for download. But like any other downloads, it will be for Premium Members only.

Thanks!

GuruFocus.

Daisy42- 3 years agoThanks.

Jhodges72- 3 years agoGurufocus- 3 years agoWe are aware that Warren Buffett article had a different total market cap from Wilshire 5000; we referred that article many times in the text. We said "not available" meaning that it is not available to us.

We do have our limitations, and we make mistakes. The good thing is that we are always learning and getting better.

Thank you for pointing it out (again).

Jhodges72- 3 years agoGurufocus- 3 years agoOn the other hand, what is important here is the current value of the ratio relative to its historical values. The assumption here is that Wilshire 5000 changes in the same way as the whole market. Although it might not be exactly the case, but it is quite close.

Again please understand we are limited by the availability of data.

Jhodges72- 3 years agoJhodges72- 3 years agoGurufocus- 3 years agoWe are aware that GDP and GNP are different. We explained in the text why we use GDP.

First of all, historically they are always within 2% of each other. Also GDP data updates much earlier than GNP from BEA website, by using GDP we can update the information earlier.

Jhodges72- 3 years agoChentao1006- 3 years agoChentao1006- 3 years agoArurao7- 3 years agoGurufocus- 3 years agoThanks!

GuruFocus.

Tuku2400- 3 years agoRjmmd- 3 years agoBillbyte- 3 years ago[seekingalpha.com]

Billbyte- 3 years ago[seekingalpha.com]

Stavros- 3 years agoGurufocus- 3 years agothanks!

Mledoux- 3 years agoGurufocus- 3 years agoPjmason14- 3 years agoThanks!

Seanickson- 3 years agoCnarayan- 3 years agoGDP as of the 1st quarter 2011 : 13,444.3

GNP as of the 1st quarter 2011 : 13,655.8

TMC/GDP = 104.81

TMC/GNP = 103.19

Either way (GDP or GNP), market seems to be modestly overvalued.

Advance GDP and GNP as of the 2nd quarter 2011 will be released only towards the end of July. Gurufocus, please correct me if I'm wrong.

Cnarayan- 3 years agoCnarayan- 3 years agoGuru.10302- 4 years agoChaim422- 4 years agoRgarga- 4 years agoShaftman- 4 years agoShaftman- 4 years agoGurufocus- 4 years agoChris lowe- 4 years agoGurufocus- 4 years agoHussman uses PPE reverse to the mean, we use TMC/GDP reverse to the mean. In our calculation, profit margin does not play a role, therefore we don't need to do what Hussman and Shiller did to flat the profit margins.

We don't have data for earlier times.

SpatialK- 4 years agoCurious to know how you guess at "business growth"; I think Husmanviews this along the same lines as long-run real earnigns growth. Implicitly you seem to allow the reinvestment of earnings not distributed as dividends, so this will give a higher rate than he uses. Is that right?

On the other hand he effectiviely annuitizes the change in the valuation ratio (P/Normalized E) to some long run average (which is why I think he now forecasts barely any return-after inflation). But what do you do. Please clarify.

Thanks for your attention

PS. Do you have data before the 70's?

Jharna- 4 years ago[www.whatisguide.net]

Mony87v- 4 years agoAny info would be helpful.

Gurufocus- 4 years agoTo include the revenue of US companies from international, one needs to use GNP (Gross National Product) instead of GDP, as we explained in the article. But we also explained in the article "The size of the US economy is measured by Gross National Product (GNP). Although GNP is different from GDP (gross domestic product), the two numbers have always been within 1% of each other. For the purpose of calculation, GDP is used here."

Another reason we use GDP here is because GDP data comes out much earlier than GNP data, as you can imagine why.

Thanks!

GuruFocus.

Aagold- 4 years agoJonathan Poland- 4 years agowww.thepolandreport.com

Tanmaysasvavdkar- 4 years ago[www.financialculture.com]

Halis- 4 years agoJehnavi- 4 years ago[www.financemetrics.com]

Tiresias- 4 years agothis site would be a more accurate place to get TMV. See the top line. The value is updated monthly

<[www.wilshire.com]>

Tiresias- 4 years agoapparently your are using ^dwc for tmv; perhaps you should be using ^w5000

Bpengelly- 4 years agoGurufocus- 4 years agoThe market index we use is Wilshire5000.

Bpengelly- 4 years agoInvestment Return % = 1.9% + 6% + (((80/80.5)^1/8) - 1)

This ends up with an expected return of 7.9% not the currently listed 6.2%. What am I missing or doing wrong?

Tiresias- 4 years agoAdib Motiwala- 4 years agoCan you tell what was the TMC/GNP ratio in 2007 2008 and 2009.

Jehnavi- 5 years ago[www.financeandmarkets.net]

Superguru- 5 years agoJust like Buffett - He was piling up cash when markets were overvalued and as soon as market started going into nosedive he started putting cash to work.

Not sure if he was watching market valuation or he just was not finding anything worth buying at the price offered to him?

Do market valuation matter?

Michaelrahn- 5 years agoSuperguru- 5 years agothat is what make investing so much fun, hard and challenging...

It is like working with humans... so unpredictable....as opposed to say working with computers or machines.

But great leaders know of how to maximize returns from people..and great investors know how to maximize returns from assets like stocks and bonds without taking too much risk.

Michaelrahn- 5 years agoAagold- 5 years agoThe first two terms in the calculation are div_yield(%) + business_growth(%), which comes to 1.97% + 6% = 7.97%. The final valuation_change(%) term, if we use fair value = 80% of GDP, comes out to (80/83.9)^(1/8) - 1 = -0.6%. So the average 8-year average return comes out to 7.37%.

Am I making a mistake in this calculation?

Dand49- 5 years agoThe total market value divisor is 1059.32 (in millions) and that puts the

total market at 12.293 (in millions) and the full-cap total market at

13.453 (in millions). The percentages are then 86% and 94%. Why don't

you use the US Total Market full cap? The data can be found at

[www.djindexes.com].

Thanks for posting and updating this information.

Latc- 5 years agoBuffetteer17- 5 years agoNext you make an appeal to authority, by referring to Buffett. I am unsure of just what relationship you are talking about. Is it the fact that stocks are sometimes mis-priced? Buffett has consistently maintained that the intrinsic value of a company is the discounted present value of future "owner earnings," which, while not exactly the same as net cash flows, is pretty close. He apparently believes this strongly, as he put this statement in his Owner's Manual [http://www.berkshirehathaway.com/ownman.pdf]: "Intrinsic value is an all-important concept that offers the only logical approach to evaluating the relative attractiveness of investments and businesses. Intrinsic value can be defined simply: It is the discounted value of the cash that can be taken out of a business during its remaining life."

I will shortly be posting my usual "Quarterly Report on The Porfolio Q4 2009," which will answer your question about my investing returns. You can have the last word in this argument. I am done.

Latc- 5 years agoBuffetteer17- 5 years agoLatc- 5 years agoBuffetteer17- 5 years agoLatc- 5 years agoGurufocus- 5 years agoWe use Wilshire 5000 for the measurement of total market cap, which is different from what Buffett and Van Den Berg use. They use the total of all stocks traded. We do not have the daily data for that. Their numbers are higher than Wilshire 5000.

But relatively speaking, the overall picture is the same.

GuruFocus.

Alahendrix- 5 years agoSo, while using the Wishire 5000 is interesting for your Market Cap input, it is somehow very off from Buffett's data points and Van DeBerg's as well. If you're going to use this metric, you should at least make sure that it is accurate. And clearly it is not!

Latc- 5 years agoHill- 5 years agoCoreythen- 5 years ago[email protected]- 5 years agoJcf9999- 5 years agoThis site just published an article to take this a step further: they backtested this metric as a timing indicator. Interesting is if you only buy at the significantly undervalued and sell at the significantly overvalued, you would have avoided the last two bubbles and made 9.7% (?) per year since 1980. See this link: http://www.validfi.com/LTISystem/jsp/news/2009/09/buffett-stock-market-indicator-simple.html.

Sorry, how do you put an embedded link on gurufocus.com?

JC.

Peterlewis- 5 years ago[www.wilshire.com]

Gurufocus- 5 years agoSorry about that.

Stcalhou- 5 years agoMike5885- 6 years agoMax7777- 6 years agoAbecfilms- 6 years ago[www.wilshire.com]

and here:

[www.bea.gov]

For GNP (which runs approximately close to GDP), click on "Full Release and Tables" in right column, and go to Table 3. GNP appears as the second line from the bottom, "Equals: Gross National Product."

Sabonis- 6 years agoKfh227- 6 years ago