It was a rough day for stocks.
In a note to clients on Wednesday, Gluskin Sheff’s David Rosenberg took a step back to highlight four of the biggest obstacles facing the bull market.
Here’s what Rosenberg outlined:
- Earnings momentum has slowed. Bottom-up consensus forecasts for S&P 500 operating earnings growth in the first quarter have fallen to -3.1% from +5.3% year-over-year. “The second quarter has been sliced to -0.7% YoY as well, so technically speaking we could be looking at a mild profits recession here in the US — this is down from the +5.9% estimate at the start of the year,” he wrote.
- Valuations are high. The trailing P/E ratio is 20x, compared to the long-run norm of 16x. “It actually is not all that uncommon to see the equity market up in years when EPS growth is flat-ish (as the consensus now believes for 2015) but that requires price-to-earnings multiple expansion.”
- Economic data has been disappointing. The Citigroup Economic Surprise Index is at the lowest level since August 2011, and in that month, the S&P 500 dipped in a way that led some to think the economic cycle was turning.
- The strong dollar is hurting profits. “There is such a thing as too much of a good thing,” Rosenberg wrote, and the dollar bull market is not over. He advised investors to avoid sectors that have EPS forecasts below zero, including Utilities (-6.6%) and Telecom (-0.8%.)
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