Doll: No Recession, Stocks to Move Higher with Volatility

Blackrock’s Bob Doll says that, while the economy has been faltering for the past few months, he doesn’t think the U.S. is headed into a recession, and he remains cautiously bullish.

In commentary on Blackrock’s site, Doll says slowing global growth, the U.S. fiscal cliff, and weak business confidence are all making for serious headwinds for the economy. “It would be an overreaction, however, to suggest that the U.S. economy is also heading into a recession,” he says. “There are a number of important sources of strength within the United States: the strong financial health of the corporate sector, a healing banking system, historically low levels of credit card delinquencies and signs of increased discretionary spending by consumers. Our view is that absent some sort of new catastrophic event, US growth should remain positive, if hardly stellar.”

Doll says he expects corporate earnings to continue to grow, but at a “sluggish” pace. And he sees stocks climbing higher, but in a jagged fashion. “Our forecast is that stocks should continue to climb higher, but that we will see some continued back-and-forth in prices,” he writes. “There is still room for additional policy easing around the world given weak growth levels and low levels of inflation. Equities do generally benefit during times of policy reflation, but they do so in a volatile fashion given the associated backdrop of economic concerns.” While many investors are positioned either defensively or bearishly, he says that the macroeconomic risks are already priced into markets. “Valuation levels for stocks would also appear to provide support,” he says. “Our long-term view for equities is still a positive one, but we are not expecting to see a significant upside breakout unless and until more policy clarity emerges.”