Market Forecasts of 2019 and 2020 By: Gabriel PotterMBA, AIFA® 2020.01.17

Market Targets from January 2019

2019 was the year when everything worked for investors.  Commodities, real estate, US stocks, fixed income, and emerging markets were all positive – often substantially so.  For the past few decades, market analysts and industry professionals tend to place long term return targets from 6% to 9% for most asset classes, or common blends of asset classes, being reviewed.  In contrast, the S&P advanced approximately 30%, including dividends.  This was an unbelievably high return given the lack of change in economic direction for the past year.  Fundamentally, the economy continued to chug along at a healthy clip with moderately low inflation, modest growth, and historically low unemployment.  Despite these healthy conditions, the Federal Reserve still decided to spike the markets with several interest rate cuts.  Although this did little to change the direction of the economy - which was already running quite efficiently - it did have the effect of boosting returns and minimizing (already depressed) downward volatility, particularly for fixed income investors. While the immense flow of cheap money is pure sugar to investors, sooner or later the disparity between solid profitability and exorbitant market returns will have to be reconciled.

As a reminder, here are the Wall Street 2019 S&P 500 targets which we presented a year ago.

 

Analyst Institution S&P Forecast for 2019
 Keith Parker UBS 3200
Lori Calvasina RBC Capital Markets 2900
 Edward Yardeni Yardeni Research 3100
Saira Malik Nuveen 2840
 Barry Bannister Stifel 2800
Chris Harvey Wells Fargo 2665
Sean Darby Jefferies 2900
Binky Chadha Deutsche Bank 3250
Jonathan Golub  Credit Suisse 2925
Steven Auth  Federated Investors 3100
Rob Sharps  T. Rowe Price 2850
David Kostin  Goldman Sachs 2855
Dubravko Lakos-Bujas  JP Morgan

3100

 Tobias Levkovich Citi 2850
Maneesh Deshpande  Barclays 3000
Michael Wilson  Morgan Stanley 2750
Savita Subramanian  Bank of A. Merril Lynch 2900
John Stoltzfus  Oppenheimer  2960
John Praveen PGIM 3000
 Brian Belski BMO Capital 3150


Source:  Dow Jones
Market Watch, Barron’s

The S&P 500 was at 2507 on January 1st, 2019.  The S&P 500 hit 3229 by the end of the year, up nearly 29% on price alone, besting all forecasts.  Some of the more optimistic forecasts were set expecting a recovery from the 4Q 2018 market pullback, but nobody expected every major asset class to advance as far as they ultimately did.     

The Updated Market Targets for 2020

Again, we started on January 1st, 2020 with the S&P at 3229.

Here are the current 2020 S&P 500 targets. 

Institution

Analyst

S&P Forecast for 2020

Bank of A. Merrill Lynch

Savita Subramanian

3300

Barclays

Maneesh Deshpande

3300

BMO Capital

Brian Belski

3400

BTIG

Julian Emanuel

3450

Canaccord Genuity

Tony Dwyer

3440

CFRA

Sam Stovall

3435

Citi

Tobias Levkovich

3375

Credit Suisse

Jonathan Golub

3425

Deutsche Bank

Binky Chadha

3250

Evercore ISI

Dennis DeBusschere

3400

Fundstrat

Tom Lee

3450

Goldman Sachs

David Kostin

3400

Invesco Global Markets

Brian Levitt

3600

Jefferies

Sean Darby

3300

JPMorgan

Dubravko Lakos-Bujas

3400

Piper Jaffray

Piper Jaffray Research

3600

Morgan Stanley

Michael Wilson

3000

Ned Davis

Ed Clissold

3325

RBC Capital Markets

Lori Calvasina

3350

Scotiabank

Hugo Ste-Marie

3350

Société Générale

Sophie Huynh

3050

Wells Fargo

Chris Harvey

3388

UBS

Francois Trahan

3000

Source:  Dow Jones Market Watch, Barron’s, Yahoo Finance

Last year, there was a sharp correction in the final quarter which necessitated a lot of last-minute revisions in analyst forecasts.  Things are a lot more stable this time around, so we haven’t seen as much fretting from Wall Street over their publicized estimates.  Moreover, the range of optimists (about 300 points higher) and pessimists (about 300 points lower) are fairly balanced, creating a tighter range of forecasts than in years past.

 

DISCLOSURES & DISCLAIMERS:

The information contained herein has been obtained from sources that we believe to be reliable, but its accuracy and completeness are not guaranteed.  Westminster Consulting, LLC reserves the right at any time and without notice to change, amend, or cease publishing the information.  It has been prepared solely for informative purposes.  It is made available on an "as is" basis.  Westminster Consulting, LLC does not make any warranty or representation regarding the information.  Without prior written permission from Westminster Consulting, LLC, it may not be reproduced, in whole or in part, in any form. The information in this document is confidential and proprietary to Westminster Consulting, LLC including its business units and may be legally privileged. Any unauthorized review, printing, copying, use or distribution of this document by anyone else is prohibited and may be a criminal offense. Indices mentioned are unmanaged and cannot be invested into directly.  Past Performance does not guarantee future results.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gabriel Potter

Gabriel is a Senior Investment Research Associate at Westminster Consulting, where he is responsible for designing strategic asset allocations and conducts proprietary market research.

An avid writer, Gabriel manages the firm’s blog and has been published in the Journal of Compensation and Benefits,...

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