2020 Forecasts and How to Beat Them

A recent article in CFA Institute advises investors to “rely on the wisdom of the crowd and follow the expert consensus forecast rather than any individual prediction.”

According to the article, new research shows that the consensus forecast of individual economists “beats even that of the most skilled single economist,” and claims there is a simple way to outperform such a forecast. It cites a German study involving the analysis of over 150,000 stock market forecasts between 1995 and 2004 that attempted to predict six international stock markets and interest rates for the ensuing three and 12 months. The study found that although the consensus typically beat all individual predictions, it also “correlated more with where stock markets and interest rates were at the time of the prediction than the time the prediction aimed to forecast.”

The article concludes that the ability of “expert” predictors is “so poor that investors are better off assuming that nothing will change at all. In fact, predicting that stock markets or interest rates will remain where they are today a year from now not only tends to be more accurate than even the most-skilled individual forecast, but also more accurate than the consensus forecast.”