Wien, Biggs, Leuthold, Sonders: Don’t Dismiss the Rally

While the stock market rebound has been met with great skepticism, several top strategists — including some not known for their bullishness — are beginning to think that the rally is indeed for real, reports Financial Advisor Magazine’s Evan Simonoff.

“Normally sober, often vinegary sages ranging from Byron Wien to Barton Biggs to Steve Leuthold to Michael Price think that a market which stubbornly refuses to correct its deviant behavior by more than a few percentage points it is trying to tell us something,” writes Simonoff. Leuthold, for example, says the S&P 500 could hit 1,250 by the first quarter of 2010. And, he thinks retailers could have a surprisingly strong Christmas season — something Wien agrees with.

Charles Schwab’s Chief Investment Strategist Liz Ann Sonders, meanwhile, recently said that investors are underestimating the “bounce-back” effect, reports Simonoff. Sonders says exports are starting to rise sharply, to the point where “GDP can rise even without an increase in consumer spending.”

Schwab’s mutual fund Chief Investment Officer Jeff Mortimer is also optimistic, Simonoff says. “Our model shows the S&P is still undervalued,” Mortimer says. “I think we grind higher. If there are surprises, they are [likely to be] on the upside.” He adds, “This played out like a classic textbook bottom. If you wait until the all-clear sign has been given, all the gains will have been given to others.”

Simonoff does say that, while these strategists are somewhat optimistic, “none of the observers I’ve heard seem to think we’re at the start of a long-term secular bull market. Most seem to say we’re in the process of returning to a new equilibrium, and the pre-Lehman collapse level of 1,200 or so in the S&P 500 seems like a logical place to search for it.”

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