With the stock market hitting yet another series of new records, some investors may be inclined to take the money and run — or at least start to worry about the rally’s sustainability.
Not legendary investor Laszlo Birinyi.
The president of Birinyi Associates is going in the opposite direction, placing more bullish trades on the S&P 500 and raising his price target into the 2,588 to 2,600 range. That’s 3% to 3.5% higher than the index’s current level, and would mark a 16% surge for the year.
In a recent note to clients, Birinyi also said he bought SPDR S&P 500 ETF 255 calls expiring on December 29. The fund tracks the benchmark index.
One of the biggest components of Birinyi’s bull argument is that there’s still ample cash sitting on the sidelines, waiting to be deployed. And as stocks continue to show strong fundamentals, such as earnings growth, traders will continue to find excuses to put that cash to work.
Birinyi’s new trade follows a similar one he made in June, when he purchased options betting that the benchmark index would hit 2,500 by the end of September. And here we are, on the final trading day of the month, sitting just north of that forecast and proving him correct.
It was just the latest example why investors should heed Birinyi’s advice. After all, he’s nailed his predictions since the start of the bull market, which included being one of the first analysts to recommend buying ahead of the market bottom in March 2009. He’s remained a stock enthusiast since then as the S&P 500 has nearly quadrupled, defying market pessimists throughout the third-longest bull run on record. A full rundown of his various prescient calls can be found here.
It should also be noted that Birinyi doesn’t simply make recommendations — he puts his money where his mouth is. His two publicly-stated S&P 500 options trades in the past four months are evidence of that. In the grand scheme of things, that approach is a big part of how Birinyi operates. If you’re willing to make a monetary bet alongside an investment suggestion, he’s much more likely to take you seriously.
Elsewhere in Birinyi’s recent client note, he revisits a theme that he outlined in a Q&A with Business Insider earlier this month: that much of the hubbub around the CBOE Volatility Index — or VIX — is just noise. He cites multiple examples of pundits calling for a stock market shock in the event of a VIX spike, then notes that when the fear gauge did finally jump, the S&P 500 took off on a six-day rally.
Birinyi also disagrees with some of the most popular bear arguments floating around, like the stock market being too expensive. He’s not a fan of the valuation metric known as The Shiller CAPE Ratio, which he says is untested in past market cycles, and has never given a ‘buy’ signal.
Overall, even if you disagree with him, Birinyi’s track record shows that he’s worthy of your attention. And if you decide to trade against his advice, do so at your own risk.