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I think you have to think a bit more clearly about how the market works.
The rate of return on stocks is not expected to be, and is not, the rate of rise of the value of the market index.
Each year you get the earnings on your holdings, not the rate of increase of the earnings of the holdings.
Over the very long run, real broad market earnings rise something near 2%/year, not 6.5%/year.

Sorry, I don't follow.
If the market index rises by 10% in a year (ignoring dividends for a minute) isn't that the rate of return on the stock prices? What else is it?
Similarly, if P/E is constant and ignoring buybacks, isn't the percentage rise in the stock prices the same as the percentage rise in earnings i.e. earnings growth?

Look-through earnings are not mine, they are for the company to dispose of as they see fit. My return comprises of dividends, multiple expansion, and earnings growth. I believe the late Jack Bogle agrees.

The bigger point:
Profits can't rise as a percentage of sales over time, except in the "up" portion of cyclical variation.
Even a thousand years from now, profits will not exceed 100% of sales. Probably never more than 20%, at a guess.
As real GDP generally rises only in the vicinity of 2%/year, that's the best net profits do as well, over the long run.
Hey, be a huge optimist, say 3%.

No doubt. But a company with a 5% profit margin and no variable costs, will double its stock price if the sales rise by 5% and that 100% is the return that stockholders will experience.
($100 sales - $95 cost = $5 profit; $105 sales - $95 cost = $10 profit; constant P/E).
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