One asset manager called last year’s fourth quarter stock rout perfectly, and they are doubling down, saying it will happen again this year. Principal Global Investors’ Seema Shah says that stocks are facing another imminent selloff if the US and China can’t get a trade deal done before the December 15th tariff deadline. “If that trade deal doesn’t happen and if everything falls apart and it feels like tensions are getting worse, then I think we are facing a potential repeat of last year, and it will be worse”, said Shah. She says that the shock could be even bigger than in other parts of the year because of how liquidity disappears in December.
FINSUM: So we are dubious on this call, but what is interesting to us is that this argument was published on November 28th, and since then Trump has backtracked on the trade deal timeline.
Analysts from across the Street have now put their predictions in for 2020, and the outlook is not as rosy as one would expect from a bunch of analysts who get paid to be bullish. The consensus outlook for equities can best be described as “meeehhh”. Morgan Stanley, UBS, and Stifel are forecasting that the S&P 500 will fall next year, while Citi, BAML, and Goldman are forecasting rises, but modest ones (single digits at the high end). Taken as an average, analysts think stocks will rise just 3% next year.
FINSUM: A published 3% forecasted rise by Wall Street research analysts feels more like they are expecting a 10% loss.
It is not going to be a huge crash, but Morgan Stanley thinks US stocks will struggle in 2020. The bank thinks the US is clearly “late-cycle” and that its growth will wane from 2.3% to 1.8% next year. It believes the Dollar will weaken and stocks will struggle. The bank thinks most of the benefits of the Fed’s rate cuts have already been priced into the market. “In 2020, the economy will grow more slowly as the bulk of the positive lift from lower interest rates will have been absorbed and households balance higher income with higher prices from tariff”, says Morgan Stanley. The bank says emerging markets are likely to outperform.
FINSUM: Of all the forecasts we have seen lately, this one seems the most realistic. We don’t see a big bust coming, but a plateau seems very believable.
The world’s leader in managing the ultra-wealthy’s money says that the rich are bracing themselves for a big selloff in 2020. The firm’s clients hold near record level of capital in cash—25%—and think the stock market is going to have real trouble next year. The two major concerns occupying the minds of the ultra wealthy are the US-China trade war and the 2020 US presidential election. The bank got quantitative results on the topic from a recent survey, which received 3,400 responses.
FINSUM: Nobody knows how the market will do next year, and it is never hard to find people that are bearish. This looks like the perfect wall of worry for stocks to climb.
Goodbye bearishness, hello risk-on. JP Morgan took a pivot from the rest of the Wall Street research machine today and took some bold steps in its allocation recommendations. The bank said that investors should take money out of gold and other risk averse assets, like government bonds, and put it into risk assets like stocks. The bank’s strategy team said “We maintain a significant and incrementally larger tilt in our model portfolio towards risky assets, based on signs of a cyclical recovery, easing geopolitical tensions, synchronized monetary easing, and defensive investor positioning across asset classes”.
FINSUM: The clouds do seem to be parting a bit, but there are still a lot of x factors—which is exactly the reason this could turn out to be a very good call.