The US stock market could rally by up to 25% in the next six months, according to Fidelity's head of...
The US stock market could rally by up to 25% in the next six months, according to Fidelity's head of global strategy, John Ross.
As an increasing number of macro and investment sentiment indicators point toward the stock market reaching a bottom, Ross believes a V-shaped recovery is possible in the short to medium term.
Ross said that aggressive rate cuts are normally a precursor to the stock market rising and that such a recovery is possible within the next six to nine months.
The current bear market, while in line with previous recessions in terms of the extent of decline, is heading toward being one of the longest in living memory, he argued.
'The US bear market is 78 weeks old,' Ross said. 'The bear market in 1980 lasted 90 weeks and the 1968 bear market lasted 83 weeks. In terms of duration, this bear market is long in the tooth.'
Aside from the rate cuts and the balance of history, a number of other investor sentiment indicators are pointing toward a pending bottom in the market, Ross maintains.
He said: 'Volatility has increased dramatically and the ratio of put to calls in the futures market has increased dramatically. The volume of shares traded has increased, which is typical of a bottom of a bear market.'
The market is consequently oversold, he added, and equities now look cheap relative to bonds in both Europe and the UK. In the US, however, equities look at least reasonably valued relative to bonds, Ross noted.
Although equities are cheap in comparison to bonds, the markets are still relatively expensive in absolute terms, according to Ross. He pointed out that the FTSE All-Share is still trading on a P/E higher than its long-term average of 37.28.
Ross claimed this is a result of falling interest rates, the increased index weightings of telecoms companies trading on high multiples, who make up a larger constituent of the index than in the past, and the higher risk premium investors who have been willing to pay in expectation of higher returns.
He expects slower earnings growth for the major economies moving forward as growth returns to the mean.
Ross believes the market will remain more volatile for the medium term at least as a similar re-rating will be more difficult to achieve, given the current climate of low interest rates and investor's risk aversion.
He said: 'Following on from this, slower economic growth could lead to slower profits growth. In the long run, share prices follow earnings so a lower rate of earnings equates to lower returns.'
As such, Ross warned that investors should expect more modest equity returns moving forward. He believes stock picking will be more essential than ever.
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