Displaying items by tag: S&P 500
With the calendar flipping to 2021, the big question on everyone’s mind is what 2021 will hold. 2020 was an exceptionally wild, and ultimately very profitable, year for investors. And within the final few months of 2020 was a developing buy signal that rarely occurs. That signal was the constant revision of earnings estimates in an upward direction. Remember that analysts’ earnings estimates are very frequently revised just before earnings are released, and the large majority of the time those revisions are towards the downside. However, in nearly every week of Q4, revisions moved estimates higher. According to Jefferies, “We’d argue that this is one of the most important tailwinds for equities, as earnings revisions are rarely positive”.
FINSUM: Revising earnings upwards breaks almost all rules of the equity research game, so when it happens it is quite notable. This suggests some strongly positive momentum for the economy.
The annual next-year forecast cycle for Wall Street’s investment banks is in and some of the findings are interesting. As usual, banks are fairly bullish. However, that was certainly not automatic this year given the huge tumult in markets in 2020. One particular forecast stood out—Goldman Sachs. The bank’s research team, led by David Kostin, has its official 2021 S&P 500 price target as 4,200, or just about 14% ahead of today. Interestingly, the bank also thinks gold is going to rise strongly, from the mid 1,800s today to 2,300. According to Kostin, “On absolute metrics like price/earnings...the market is very expensive relative to its history, in the 90th percentile or greater … But relative to interest rates, the stock market is somewhat attractively valued. Those are two different stories—absolute valuation versus relative valuation”.
FINSUM: As tough as it is to swallow on a historical basis, we think the interest-rates measured basis for current valuations makes a great deal of sense.
Goldman Sachs went on the record with a bold call last week. They told investors that despite all the fears in the market, a big correction WAS NOT coming. Alessio Rizzi and his team at Goldman say that many indicators are showing a bullish outlook, and that big losses don’t seem likely. According to Rizzi, “more moderate risky asset returns are likely from here, rather than an imminent risk of a sizable correction”. One indicator Goldman cited as very bullish was the ratio between puts and calls. Right now the market is deeply favoring calls, with the ratio nearing the limits of its normal distribution.
FINSUM: So bulls look at this and say “aha, I’m right, the market will rise”; and bears say “exactly as expected, this is a contrarian indicator”! In our opinion, on the whole, there is plenty to be optimistic about.
Tech shares have been doing very well recently. This has given rise to renewed fears of overvaluation and a market correction. In the ten days leading up to December 8th,the Nasdaq 100 jumped 5.3%. While this makes some nervous after a year of huge gains for tech, history tells us this likely means more gains are coming. There have only been 10 times ion history when the Nasdaq 100 went on a ten-day winning streak, and the average gain in the year following was 19%.
FINSUM: The point here is that even if value stocks do well—which they have been as the economic outlook has brightened—tech stocks don’t look bearish by any means.
Starting with the huge gains of tech shares over the summer, and now the whole index, investors have grown increasingly uneasy with market valuations. By some metrics, markets are as stretched valuation-wise as they have ever been. Take for instance Robert Shiller’s famed CAPE ratio. As it stands now the S&P 500 has a CAPE valuation of 33.4x. That is the highest it has been since 1929 and almost double the long-term average of 17x. ”There are great expectations built into this market … We are in the seventh inning of Federal Reserve-supported equity markets”, says the CIO of CIBC Private Wealth Management.
FINSUM: As scary as the valuations are, they are not entirely irrational given the level of stimulus and the way the economy has held up.