Arguments the stock market is “overvalued” are pretty common these days. But MarketWatch columnist Brett Arends raised eyebrows in a recent column in which he argues “valuations are higher today than they were at the peak in 1999-2000.”

The era was notable for its excesses, he says, but the heady valuations of the tech bubble were driven by a handful of uber-high flying stocks, including Microsoft, Cisco, Intel and our corporate parent Yahoo.

“But that overvaluation was quite concentrated in a relatively small number of large-cap growth stocks,” Arends recalls. “When you look beyond that small segment of the market, the rest of the market wasn’t so bad. That is not the case right now.”

Indeed, the median valuation for the top 1500 stocks by market cap today is higher than it was in 1999, Arends reports, citing the following:

Median P/E today is 20 vs. 16 in January 2000
Median price-to-book today is 2.5 vs. 2.2 in 2000
Median price-to-revenue today is 1.8 vs. 1.4 in 2000

“We don’t have the wacko, off the charts overvaluation of the sector in 1999…but we don’t have the broad value as well,” he says. “Everything seems expensive. There’s almost nowhere to hide. It’s very difficult to find

[value]” in the market today.”

“If you’re saying stocks are overvalued but so is everything else, I’d agree with you,” he quips. “I would love to be bullish…but I find the bearish case on stocks is stronger than the bullish case. A guy I know in London, who is usually a bearish guy, has been buying silver miners saying they are deeply unfashionable, way out of fashion, and a decent value.