Jim Paulsen, equity strategist for Wells Capital Management, an arm of Wells Fargo, gave an interview on CNBC yesterday. It’s well worth listening to.
His main points:
–the stock market decline we’ve seen since November is all about adjustment to lower future earnings growth prospects. This is being caused by the resumption of “normal” growth as the bounceback from deep recession is completed. Another aspect of the return to normal is the economic drag from gradual end to extraordinary monetary stimulus, at least in the US.
In Mr. Paulsen’s view, the S&P 500 can trade at 16x trailing earnings in this new environment, not the 19x it was at two months ago.
–we may have seen the lows for the year last Wednesday at midday (1812 on the S&P 500). More likely, the market will revisit those lows in the near future. It will break below 1800 on the S&P, creating a fear-filled selling climax.
–assuming, as he does, that the S&P will end the year flat, i.e. around the 2044 where it closed 2015, a buyer at yesterday’s close would have a 9% return (11% dividends) from holding the index by yearend. A buyer at 1800 would have a compelling 14% (16%) return. 11% might be enough to attract buyers; 16% surely will be.
–2017 will be a stronger year for earnings growth than 2015, implying that the market will rise further as/when it begins to discount next year’s earnings growth.
–the current selloff will trigger a market leadership change. The new stars will likely be industrials, small-caps and foreign stocks.