Why investors need to brace for ‘new normal’ of choppy trading
David Kostin just made a bold call: The 11-year-old bull market in U.S. stocks is about to become history.
The chief strategist for U.S. equities at Goldman Sachs Group Inc. cut his year-end forecast for the S&P 500 while trimming his profit estimates for a second time in a month. Earnings will drop at least 12 per cent in each of the next two quarters as plunging oil prices and the spread of the coronavirus hurt businesses, he said.
With profits poised to collapse and sentiment to worsen, Kostin now expects the benchmark index to drop to 2,450 by the middle of 2020. That represents a 15 per cent decline from the last close and a 28 per cent slump from its February peak, a loss that if materialized would mean equities enter a bear market.
“We believe the S&P 500 bull-market will soon end,” Kostin wrote in a note to clients. “The deterioration in fundamentals is visible.”
Kostin joined Jonathan Golub at Credit Suisse Group AG in turning more skeptical on stocks amid growing strains on corporate profits. He lowered his 2020 earnings estimate to US$157 a share from $165. Earlier in February, he expected companies to earn US$174 a share.
But investors shouldn’t give up on stocks yet, the strategist suggested. Things will get better in the second half as the negative impact of the virus wanes and profits rebound, he said. While reducing his year-end target for the S&P 500 by 200 points to 3,200, Kostin still sees gains equaling to 11 per cent from Tuesday’s close.
“A new bull market will likely be born later this year,” he wrote.
--With assistance from Aoyon Ashraf