Right now the E.C.Y. is 3.15 percent. That is roughly its average for the last 20 years. It is relatively high, and it predicts that stocks will outperform bonds. Current interest rates for bonds make that a very low hurdle.

Consider that when you factor in inflation, the 10-year Treasury note, yielding around 1.4 percent, will most likely pay back less in real dollars at maturity than your original investment. Stocks may not have the usual high long-run expectations (the CAPE tells us that), but at least there is a positive long-run expected return.

Putting all of this together, I’d say the stock market is high but still in some ways more attractive than the bond market.

For those overexposed to equity risk, selling some stocks now in favor of bonds might be worthwhile. Treasuries, for example, are highly likely to retain their nominal value. In a time of stable inflation, they are generally safer than stocks.

But for most people, a well-diversified portfolio containing both stocks and bonds is generally a good idea. Moreover, stocks may be more attractive than bonds, because if the economy revives, fear of inflation may as well. That could help stocks fly higher and lead to poor performance for bonds.

The markets may well be dangerously high right now, and I wish my measurements provided clearer guidance, but they don’t. We can’t accurately forecast the moment-by-moment movements of birds, and the stock and bond markets are, unfortunately, much the same.

Robert J. Shiller is Sterling professor of economics at Yale. He is a consultant for Barclays Bank.

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