Stocks were so volatile this week some analysts have started pulling their S&P 500 targets

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  • Wall Street analysts at Oppenheimer this week abandoned its S&P 500 target amid market volatility due to the coronavirus pandemic this week.
  • “In such an environment the risk and the extent of damage will vary greatly within segments of the economy and sectors of the markets causing us to suspend our target at this time,” John Stoltzfus, chief investment strategist of Oppenheimer Asset Management, wrote in a March 23 note
  • Analysts at Canaccord Genuity and BMO also pulled S&P 500 targets, CNBC reported Saturday.
  • Read more on Business Insider.

The stock market had yet another rollercoaster week fuelled by the coronavirus pandemic. Amid increased market volatility, some Wall Street analysts have started pulling targets for the S&P 500, saying it’s too difficult to predict the future during a period of such high uncertainty.

“Until the virus exhibits a decline in its trajectory and rolls over, ‘normalcy’ is likely to remain out of reach,” John Stoltzfus, chief investment strategist of Oppenheimer Asset Management, wrote in a March 23 note. “In such an environment the risk and the extent of damage will vary greatly within segments of the economy and sectors of the markets causing us to suspend our target at this time.”

Stoltzfus said that Oppenheimer will start the S&P 500 forecast again when the length of the “hard stop” of the US economy can be determined, he said. Canaccord Genuity analyst Tony Dwyer also pulled his S&P 500 target for the year, saying it’s impossible to assess the economic impact until there’s a peak in coronavirus cases, CNBC reported Saturday.


Read more: Bill Miller’s fund crushed the market for a record 15 straight years. He told us his strategy for the coronavirus meltdown, calling it ‘one of the 5 great buying opportunities of my lifetime.’

Other analysts have been thrown by companies pulling earnings guidance forecasts in light of the coronavirus pandemic. Analysts at BMO have pulled both S&P 500 and EPS targets due to recent volatility, according to CNBC.

Abandoning earnings forecasts makes it difficult for analysts to do any modelling of their own, as many look at price-to-earnings ratios to value companies.

Analysts “have no idea what to do,” Liz Ann Sonders, senior vice president and chief investment strategist Charles Schwab, told Business Insider. “The valuation analysis is impossible because the P is declining, but so is the E with no bottom in sight.”

The coronavirus pandemic sent markets into a tailspin as investors worried that the outbreak would severely slow global growth, ending the longest-ever bull run on record. On Monday, March 23, the S&P 500 closed as much as 34% below its recent all-time high about a month earlier, the swiftest descent into a bear market ever.

But there have also been a number of bounces that have thrown off investors, including this week’s three-day rally that sent the Dow up as much as 20% from its Monday low, quickly shifting back into a technical bull market at Thursday’s close. To finish off the week, gains reversed, however, and stocks slid again on Friday.

Stocks have been reacting to a bevy of news about the coronavirus pandemic, most recently unprecedented actions by the Federal Reserve to bolster the US economy, the massive $US2 trillion stimulus package signed by President Trump, and the ever-climbing number of COVID-19 cases and deaths in the US and around the world.

Still, uncertainty remains, especially as there is a back and forth over when the economy will reopen – while Trump has said he’d like businesses and workers to start to return to normal by Easter, experts have said that’s a terrible idea.

Some analysts have held onto their S&P 500 targets and think the market and economy will be able to recover once the coronavirus pandemic subsides.

“If a trough is happening this week, the S&P 500 could get back to 2,800 in April,” Thomas Lee of Fundstrat wrote in a Tuesday note. He also has a year-end target of 3450 for the S&P 500.

Lee wrote Wednesday that the S&P 500 could slip another 20% in the second quarter of 2020, as the US is “gradually entering the nadir of the valley of bad news regarding COVID-19 and its seismic effects.”

At the bottom of the market, investors can start “picking winners and losers,” Lee said. While indexes could make new lows, winning stocks can rise, he added.

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