UBS’s Julian Emanuel just cut his year-end target for the S&P 500 to 2,125 from 2,225, which he initiated in a noted titled “Roll Tide, Roll.“
“While we expect strength in equities during the seasonally favourable Q4 period given the continued solid US economic backdrop, low rates and abundant corporate cash, the uncertainty overhang of politics in Washington is expected to delay the market’s moving to new high ground until 2016, as was the case during 2011’s ultimately resolved Debt Ceiling Crisis,” he said.
To be clear, this revision doesn’t exactly make him bearish. At 1,915 recently, the S&P 500 would have to jump 11% to get to Emanuel’s target.
As many have noted, the big concern is earnings.
“Prolonged weakness in commodity prices has translated into the earnings slump for Energy companies continuing into 2H2015,” he wrote. “Earnings growth ex-Energy remains close to 5%; the combination leads us to reduce 2015E EPS to $US120 from $US126 (vs. 2014’s $US118.78). For 2016, as easier comparisons for commodity prices and FX accrue, we forecast S&P 500 earnings growth of 5%; trimming 2016’s EPS estimate to $US126 from $US134.”
The good news is that Emanuel thinks the worst could soon be over.
“With the beginning of the oil price plunge one year ago, 3Q2015 is likely the earnings trough — Nearing the Bottom – although FY guidance looks soft which could precipitate bottom-up consensus reducing 2016 forecasts of around $US131,” he said.
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