Wall Street Strategists Lukewarm on the Market

Although stocks have nearly recovered from the post-Brexit upset, there is still worry about the political and economic uncertainty that looms in its wake. Earlier this month, Steve Russolillo of The Wall Street Journal wrote that eighteen equity strategists tracked by the research firm Birinyi Associates anticipate the S&P 500 (which gained 2.7% in the first half of 2016) will end the year at around 2150 (down from their previous forecast of 2200). The index closed Friday at 2130.

Seven of the group have lowered their year-end predictions since January, although many held steady. After the Brexit vote, David Bianco of Deutsche Bank reduced his by 50 points (to 2150) based on his expectation that the vote will weigh heavily on U.S. earnings. The fact that we’re looking down the barrel at the presidential election doesn’t help the situation. Jeffrey Hirsch, editor of the Stock Trader’s Almanac, reports that since 1950, the S&P 500 has averaged a 0.9% gain during the third quarter (a historically tough period for the markets to begin with). To add insult to market injury, the eighth year of a presidency has been typically weak for stocks.

As the year moves on, it will be interesting to track these forecasts to see who got it right in 2016.