Not an Entry Point for U.S. Stocks
My long-term view of U.S. equities remains bullish, but a number of indicators, as well as near-term macro challenges, point to a pause in the run-up of that asset class.
Global CIO Commentary by Scott Minerd
Winding the clock back to the fall of last year, it was clear that U.S. equities, and financial stocks in particular, were a strong buy and warranted increased allocations where appropriate. I gave a top-end target estimate of around 1720 for the S&P 500 at the time. Today, my long-term view of U.S. equities remains bullish, and U.S. equities could easily be 30-40 percent higher than today’s levels within two to three years. Having said that, for a number of reasons, now does not appear to be a favorable entry point. Depending on their time-horizons, investors, many who have large unrealized gains, may want to consider booking some of those gains and reducing their equity exposure.
Historically, markets that have rallied as aggressively as U.S. equities since November 2012 (an increase of 25 percent), pause or correct to digest their advances. Also, earnings among U.S. companies have flattened and could turn negative within two to three quarters, meaning further upside can only come from multiple expansion. Of the 19 percent rise in stocks year-to-date, 16 percent has already come from multiple expansion. Finally, it appears GDP growth could be entering a soft patch as we work through a number of short-term issues such as the headwinds in housing, reduced growth in China, the full impact of the sequester, and the budget and debt ceiling debates that will take place in Washington in the third quarter – all of which will put downward pressure on stock prices. The near-term outlook for equities makes now a good time to consider the old Wall Street adage, “Nobody ever lost money by taking a profit."
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