Here are three sentences from RBC Capital Markets’ North American Equity Strategy Outlook – New Year 2013:A growing list of positive factors point to an up-year in for the equity market 2013. These include widespread, forceful and continuing monetary easing programs, a stabilizing global outlook, bearish positioning by real money investors and bottoming technicals. Yet, these could all be overrun by a Washington misstep which sends us off the cliff. In the very near term, measured by weeks, D.C.’s indecision holds us to a neutral stance on the equity market.
It’s never an easy task for Wall Street’s top strategists to predict what will happen in the next year. But this year’s outlooks are particularly dubious because a particularly large risk is very immediate. That risk being the fiscal cliff.
So, while strategists have offered 2013 year-end targets for the S&P 500 in the range of 1,390 to 1,615, all forecasts could change in January.
For now, Myles Zyblock, RBC’s Chief Institutional Strategist and the author of the above quote, is neutral on stocks and he doesn’t even offer a price target for the S&P 500.
But like most strategists he has plenty of reasons to be bullish. In fact, he lists “six key equity market tailwinds”:
- Monetary policy support is likely to strengthen from here.
- More signs of economic stabilisation/improvement to follow.
- Sentiment is a greater tailwind than headwind.
- Positioning data, if anything, is positive.
- RBC’s proprietary intermediate-term technical indicator for North American equity markets is bottoming.
- Earnings growth for 2013 & 2014 is likely to be positive, but soft.
Here’s Zyblock’s EPS outlook against the consensus:
Photo: RBC Capital Markets