While few have noticed, the U.S. has now reached pre-recession gross domestic product levels, says one top strategist who is bullish heading into 2011.
In a recent MarketWatch column, Mark Hulbert says Norman Fosback, editor of Fosback’s Fund Forecaster, has extrapolated U.S. GDP data and found that, “as of this moment, we are virtually right there: a 100% recovery” in real, inflation-adjusted terms, of where the GDP was at its pre-recession peak. “And if not, then a couple or a few more weeks at most,” Fosback adds.
But while that may seem like a major milestone, few in the media have picked up on the story, Hulbert notes. “Therein lies a tale, which Fosback finds very significant when assessing the stock market’s potential,” Hulbert writes. “The lack of attention to the magnitude of the recovery has been caused, in his opinion, by ‘the extraordinary pessimism enveloping the consumer investing population, fanned by a fear-mongering financial media.’ That skepticism, in turn, has played a big role in holding the stock market back from even bigger gains in recent months.”
Fosback says that pessimism means that the bull market will likely last longer than it would have if investors were more gung-ho. He’s expecting that stocks will gain about 22% in the next 12 months, and he thinks they’ll average 11% annualized over the next five years.