SAN FRANCISCO -- GuruVision's mission has always been to give readers insights and updates from gurus and would-be gurus beyond the usual suspects, although we follow some of those as well.
The 2002 outlooks for the so-called major Wall Street forecasters have been published elsewhere. Our only qualm is that other outlets often failed to note the erstwhile gurus'
lousy track record in recent years, or dared ask why we should still pay attention to some of the worst offenders.
That said, here are some year-end forecasts from some other gurus, as previewed
Man of Moderation
Brian Belski, fundamental market strategist at U.S. Bancorp Piper Jaffray, is the most mainstream of this particular passel of forecasters. Fittingly, he has the most measured outlook, predicting 7% to 9% gains for the major averages in the coming year.
"A trading range atmosphere
similar to 1991-1994 is more likely relative to an upward trending growth market
as in 1994 to 2000," Belski commented this week. He forecast the
Dow Jones Industrial Average
will end 2002 between 11,000 and 11,500, the
between 1250 and 1300, the
between 2200 and 2400, and the
between 535 and 545.
The market is showing "fundamental evidence of the beginning of a classic market cycle," Belski said, expressing particularly bullish views for industrials, basic materials, consumer discretionary and technology stocks in the coming year. If and when cyclicals become overbought, he foresees financials and health care as the likely beneficiaries of rotational activity. Conversely, he is cautious on consumer staples, energy and utilities because of a belief their earnings have peaked.
Perhaps the most "radical" aspect of Belski's 2002 forecast is his forecast that small-cap stocks may not outperform large-caps as dramatically as most prognosticators expect. Everyone expects small-caps to outperform, he said, arguing that "valuation disparities" between small- and big-caps are no longer dramatic, and that it's rare for the sector/asset class that led the market during a down year to remain the "defined leader" in an up market.
Did Someone Say "Up Market?"
Subodh Kumar, chief investment strategist at CIBC World Markets in Toronto, is targeting 3300 for the Nasdaq Composite, 1450 for the S&P 500 and (in case you're curious) 9500 for the TSE 300 in 2002.
Kumar, making his debut appearance in GuruVision, predicts a "new earnings cycle" will emerge, with fourth-quarter 2001 and first-quarter 2002 earnings down "less than feared" due to the impact of corporate America's cost-cutting. From the second quarter onward, he expects positive earnings growth "as revenue recovery combines with a lowered cost structure into a classical first up-leg of earnings renewal."
The strategist recommends an allocation of 75% stocks -- with overweights in technology, industrial cyclicals, and consumer cyclicals -- 20% bonds, 2% cash and 3% other investments.
Some of our other gurus have decidedly bearish outlooks.
Dave Hunter, chief market strategist at Kelly & Christensen, expects strength in the "first week or two" of the new year, led by semiconductors. (So far, he's right on track.) But Hunter foresees "a very sharp move down" soon thereafter, with the Dow trading between 5000 and 6000 sometime in the first half of 2002 while the S&P 500 hits 700 and the Nasdaq trades as low as 1000.
Hunter's bearishness stems from a longstanding concern about global deflation, which he believes "is likely to lead to a weak dollar, which is likely to spell trouble for U.S. bonds as well as stocks." (For a less dire view on deflation, see my
recent interview with Anirvan Banerji of the Economic Cycle Research Institute.)
Finally, John Mesrobian, an analyst with Constantinople Advisors, continues to profess what he's been saying for a long time: the U.S. dollar will fall as much as 25% vs. other major currencies, toppling U.S. equities in the process. He recently reiterated forecasts of the Dow trading under 5000 and the Comp under 1000.
"We do not go from a bubble then deflate and reflate," he commented in a recent email. "It's a very dangerous market. The problems and the excesses need to be worked off before you can see a solid and sustained move up. What we have seen is just a false and artificial market. We continue to pound the table
that this market is ready to collapse in the near future," as soon as the last half of January.
Mesrobian is bullish on gold, silver and related stocks as well as energy.
Mesrobian's bearishness is becoming wearisome even to me, if only because he seemingly takes such glee in it. But I will note he forecast Argentina's financial downfall long before it happened. He now predicts Argentina's eventual depegging from the dollar will be the first step in the unraveling of the greenback.
First, the intent here is not to endorse or rebuff any guru's view, but to provide a signpost for the coming year, something that we can (and will) revisit as accountability has always been a hallmark of GuruVision.
Second, this column doesn't pretend to encompass all expert opinion, we're always looking to add more gurus to our universe.
Aaron L. Task writes daily for TheStreet.com. In keeping with TSC's editorial policy, he doesn't own or short individual stocks, although he owns stock in TheStreet.com. He also doesn't invest in hedge funds or other private investment partnerships. He invites you to send your feedback to
Aaron L. Task.