There’s a glaring divide in outlooks for US stocks right now between market bulls and bears.
One side is pounding the alarm about a crash, while the other believes the current rally can continue.
Here’s where top investors and economists like Jeremy Siegel and Michael Burry see US stocks headed.
Put these 20 books on your Christmas wishlist if you want to understand investing and conquer bear markets, according to top Wall Street experts
1. “The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine” by Michael Lewis
2. “Stocks for the Long Run: The Definitive Guide to Financial Market Returns & Long-Term Investment Strategies” by Jeremy Siegel
3. “When Genius Failed: The Rise and Fall of Long-Term Capital Management” by Roger Lowenstein
4. “Reminiscences of a Stock Operator” by Edwin Lefèvre
5. “Market Wizards: Interviews with Top Traders” by Jack D. Schwager
6. “Lords of Finance: The Bankers Who Broke the World” by Liaquat Ahamed
7. “The Asian Financial Crisis 1995-98: Birth of the Age of Debt” by Russell Napier
8. “The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable” by Nassim Taleb
9. “A Random Walk Down Wall Street: The Time-Tested Strategy for Successful Investing” by Burton Malkiel
10. “Anatomy of the Bear: Lessons from Wall Street’s Four Great Bottoms” by Russell Napier
11. “Manias, Panics, and Crashes: A History of Financial Crises” by Charles P. Kindleberger
12. “Debt: The First 5,000 Years” by David Graeber
13. “Stabilizing an Unstable Economy” by Hyman Minsky
14. “Triumph of the Optimists: 101 Years of Global Investment Returns” by Elroy Dimson, Mike Staunton, and Paul Marsh
15. “A Short History of Financial Euphoria” by John Kenneth Galbraith
16. “Too Big To Fail” by Andrew Ross Sorkin
17. “Irrational Exuberance” by Robert J. Shiller
18. “Boom and Bust: A Global History of Financial Bubbles” by John D. Turner and William Quinn
19. “Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds” by Charles MacKay
20. “The Dow Jones-Irwin Guide to Modern Portfolio Theory” by Robert Hagin
There’s a huge debate over where US stocks are headed going on right now — and it’s a tug-of-war between the hopeful and the glum.
Bulls like Jeremy Siegel reckon the stock market rally of 2023 still has room to run, while bearish investors like “The Big Short” legend Michael Burry are warning of a crash ahead.
Investors who expect stocks to deliver attractive returns are betting that the recent cooling in US inflation will spur the Federal Reserve into cutting interest rates this year. Stocks tend to rise when rates fall, because it’s less expensive for companies to borrow cash.
On the other side are those who expect a rude awakening for people with such rosy views of the outlook for stocks. They warn that further central bank tightening, recession risks and weak earnings growth could lead to a plunge.
Here’s what seven market experts forecast for US stocks in a faceoff between bulls and bears.
Stock market bulls
Jeremy Siegel, Wharton professor
The retired Wharton professor and author of “Stocks for the Long Run” stands by his call that stocks will keep rising this year as inflation moderates. That could prompt the Fed to end its interest-rate hikes, or even start cutting them, which would boost equities.
Siegel feels confident in his forecast because investors and analysts have almost unanimously predicted further downside for stocks this year. “When everyone says that, you know they’re wrong,” he said.
He’s suggested the S&P 500 could rise 20% in the first six months of 2023, and end the year with a 15-20% gain.
Tom Lee, head of research at Fundstrat
Lee, one of the biggest bulls on Wall Street, has predicted stocks could hit record highs by the end of the year. He thinks investors have already priced in a lot of bad news, especially weak earnings growth.
“There are those who say earnings are the next ‘shoe to drop’, but EPS estimates [have] been falling for many months already,” Lee explained, referring to earnings per share. “So what arguably matters more is how are stocks reacting to EPS results.”
“Investors are punishing misses to a far less extent,” he said. “Again, highlighting a lot of the bad news of 2023 EPS is getting priced in. This doesn’t mean EPS falling is good, but this does show lots are priced in.”
The Fundstrat Global Advisors analyst expects the S&P 500 to rise another 18% this year to 4,800.
“I think we made a low on October 12 in the market. I think that was the end of the bear market.”
“And I think we’re back in a bull market. Not straight up, a lot of volatility, but I think the markets are telling us the world economy is improving.”
Yardeni said falling energy prices, cooling inflation and a strong US labor market underpin his optimism for stocks.
Stock market bears
Michael Burry, “The Big Short” investor
Burry has consistently trampled over bullish stock-market views. He’s suggested that stocks could crash and rallies won’t last, in his dire warnings for the US economy.
The Scion Asset Management chief likened the S&P 500’s rebound this year to the dot-com bubble, that could similarly end in catastrophe. He’s also said short-term rallies are common during recessionary periods.
Burry previously warned the S&P 500 could plummet over 50% from its current level to below 1,900 points, and recently tweeted one word to investors: “Sell.”
Legendary investor Jeremy Grantham
Grantham’s also flagging a potential stock market crash this year.
“My calculations of trendline value of the S&P 500 — adjusted upwards for trendline growth and for expected inflation — is about 3,200 by the end of 2023,” he said.
“The biggest picture remains that long-run issues of declining population, raw materials shortages, and rising damage from climate change are beginning to bite hard into growth prospects.”
“Over the next few years, given the change in the interest rate environment, the possibility of a downturn in global property markets poses frightening risks to the economy,” he said.
David Rosenberg, founder and president of Rosenberg Research
Stocks haven’t hit a bottom yet, according to Rosenberg. “I know that we’re there when I stop getting the question, ‘Are we there yet?'” he said.
He’s described the early-2023 bounce back in stocks as a “very whippy and junky, short-covering, bear-market rally.”
“There’s not a snowball’s chance in hell that we’ve hit the bottom of this market,” the market veteran said, arguing stocks are still way too overpriced compared to other assets.
Given the US economy is only just entering a slump and the central bank is currently hiking rates, stocks are vulnerable to further falls this year, he said.
According to Rosenberg, the S&P 500 could drop from about 4,100 points today to as low as 3,000 points — a 27% decline – if the Fed remains hell-bent on achieving its 2% inflation target.
Marko Kolanovic, JPMorgan’s chief strategist
Investors should steer clear of stocks as high interest rates, the threat of a recession and weak earnings growth are still likely to weigh on equities, according to Kolanovic.
He’s previously said he’s “outright negative” on the S&P 500 – and expects the benchmark index to fall 10% or more this year.
“With equities trading near last summer’s highs and at above-average multiples, despite weakening earnings and the recent sharp move higher in interest rates, we maintain that markets are overpricing recent good news on inflation and are complacent of risks,” Kolanovic said in a note.