This earnings season likely will be the last of the earnings recession. After year-over-year declines in the first three quarters of 2020, the fourth quarter likely will make it four in a row. Looking ahead, earnings are likely to grow solidly in the first quarter 2021 and throughout the year, which we think will enable stocks to grow into their lofty valuations.
Markets drifted lower last week as uninspired investors digested mixed news on the economic front. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 0.91% while the Standard & Poor’s 500 slid 1.48%. The Nasdaq Composite index stumbled 1.54% for the week. The MSCI EAFE index, which tracks developed overseas stock markets, slipped 0.26%.1,2,3
We see an S&P 500 Index fair value target range of 3,850–3,900 at year-end 2021 with potential for upside if there’s better-than-expected progress on vaccine distribution. A strong earnings rebound may enable stocks to grow into somewhat elevated valuations. Our S&P 500 target is based on a price-to-earnings (PE) multiple of 20 and our preliminary 2022 earnings forecast of $190. We see the 10-year yield finishing 2021 in a range of 1.25–1.75%. Inflation is likely to rise temporarily but then normalize, and the Federal Reserve (Fed) is expected to keep rates low.
MORE THAN MOST YEARS, it’s hard to look ahead to the next year, to 2021, without looking back at 2020. A global pandemic, a massive economic collapse, a bear market, a surprisingly sharp reversal, a hotly contested election where passions ran high, the impact of lockdowns—it was an unusual year of extraordinary challenges. In 2021 it’s time to restart the engines, but things are going to look different, feel different. 2020
has changed us, the way we do business, the way we connect. It’s also shown us our constants, what works for us, and what we hold on to.
AT THE MIDPOINT of 2020, we’re mindful that it’s been an extremely challenging year so far in the United States and around the globe. We’re in the midst of a pandemic that continues to impact all of us, our communities, and our economies.
AT LPL RESEARCH, as we look forward to the year 2020 and a new decade, some key trends and market signals will be important to watch, including progress on U.S.-China trade discussions, an encouraging outlook from corporate America, and continued strength in consumer spending. Trade risk, slower global growth,
WHEN WE RELEASED our Outlook 2019 - FUNDAMENTAL: How to Focus on What Really Matters in the Markets in December 2018, financial markets were in disarray. Global investors were scared by uncertain monetary policy, fiscal and legislative discord, slowing economic growth, and slackening corporate profits. Despite the increased volatility, we continued to believe that market and economic fundamentals remained generally sound.
AFTER NEARLY 10 YEARS of witnessing the U.S. economy and stock market recover—and thrive—investors are starting to wonder if we’ve seen all this expansion and bull market have to offer. Despite the market weakness we saw at the end of 2018, at LPL Research we expect the U.S. economy to grow in 2019 and support gains for stocks.
Over the past eight years extraordinarily accommodative monetary policy has served as the primary catalyst for spurring continued economic growth in the U.S. and around the globe.
Stock markets, bond markets, the economy, policy — some years they push and pull on each other lightly as markets follow their own path; in others, one influence, such as monetary policy, dominates. But sometimes, often following a period of change, understanding the pushes and pulls and how they interact becomes a key to reassessing market dynamics for the next year and beyond.