The rallies in the stock market could be indicators of irrational exuberance and are not sustainable because of anemic growth, low unemployment and high valuations in equities.
The Dow is likely to dip to 19,000 by the end of the summer since the current valuations of many companies are too high, said Patrick Morris, CEO of NY-based HAGIN Investment Management.
"The Dow is range bound for awhile until we figure out what this White House is actually up to," he said.
The old Wall Street adage of "sell in May and go away" harkens back to a theory based that stocks perform better on average during the months of November to April and could be the "best" strategy for 2017, Morris said.
"The healthcare and tax proposals, incompetent foreign policy and Russiagate will burn slowly through the summer," he said. "The U.K. and EU still have to duke it out and oil is going to weigh on the index."
The economy appears sluggish and the probability that it will grow by 3% is unlikely, Morris said. Other factors such as a weak retail sales and lackluster returns in real estate will also put a damper.
"People from overseas are unlikely to flock here," he said. "I just don't see any upside from here. The entire Trump rally was inexplicable and the current valuations are unsustainable."
For the past few years, both the economy and the stock markets have been in a recovery mode, said Daniel Johnedis, a portfolio manager on Covestor, the online investing company, and president of Cratus Capital in Savannah, Ga.
The new highs reached on the Nasdaq and the Dow this year have occurred during the later stages of the recovery cycle and will end due to the extremely high valuations of various companies and the Improvement in the European and other international stock markets, which generally lag the U.S. recovery, he said.
"When the European markets are stronger than the U.S. markets, this is generally an indication that we are in the final stages of the stock market recovery," said Johnedis.
The stock market has reached maturity because the outperformance of growth stocks compared to value stocks is another indicator.
"The Nasdaq has a high proportion of growth and technology stocks and historically outperformance in has generally followed outperformed in the S&P 500 and the Dow Jones Industrial Average," he said.
Trade issues, home affordability issues and continued tension in the Middle East and North Korea could also lead to a correction in the market.
The current earnings season has boded well so far but the markets are likely to remain rangebound, said J.J. Kinahan, chief market strategist for TD Ameritrade, an Omaha-based online broker.
"The market is saying the VIX shouldn't be higher given all the swirling with the S&P 500 remaining in the 2320 to the 2400 range," he said.
Retail traders should not only mitigate their risk and volatility in the markets, but should consider "taking some profit" and be realistic as they review their current holdings, said Kinahan.
While some traders believe the "parade will last forever," since the indices are at or near their all-time highs, now is a good time to review their assets, he said.
"So many stocks have a good year already," Kinahan said. "There are three great reasons to view your portfolio - taxes, the end of the quarter and the highs of the Dow, Nasdaq and S&P."
The financial and tech sectors reported positive earnings results and with the potential for two more interest rate hikes this year, it might "light a fire under people" considering obtaining a mortgage or loan, he said.
Retail investors need to follow their original strategy and remain disciplined even when the market skyrockets and reaches new valuations, said Peter Borish, chief strategist with Quad Group, a New York-based financial firm. Avoid timing the market and making emotional decisions.
Selling a portion of your stocks now and being profitable can be a wise move.
"There is nothing wrong with taking a profit," he said. "I made some money and had this great run. It's better to be cautious."
The high valuations should not be seen as an indicator to increase your current holdings or buy more shares of a particular stock, such as Apple, which is overpriced, Borish said.
"The inflection points are incredibly frustrating for everybody involved," he said. "Chasing certain stocks is not the best thing to do right now."
While volatility in the market is low, investors need to be aware of the headwinds as retail sales continue to decline and oil prices dip.
"People are turning their heads away at the time right before some excitement and before volatility picks up," Borish said. "The wave is picking up in the ocean although it seems relatively calm on the beach."
Determining where the Dow is headed is not as crucial as focusing on the fundamentals of the market.
"Be patient because more money is lost when people anticipate things happening," he said.
Unless there is substantial growth in the next few quarters, another large move is not likely to occur, said Ron McCoy, portfolio manager of LOWS fund on Covestor, the online investing company, and founder of Freedom Capital Advisors in Winter Garden, Fla. A large portion of the run-up since President Donald Trump began his term is the belief that his adminstriatrion could be more business friendly, but it could already be priced in.
"This is a tough market to figure out," he said. "With the Shiller PE Ratio trading close to 30 with a historical average of 16.75 and the price to sales of the S&P 500 trading at 2.08 with a historical average of 1.45, it's really hard to imagine the markets going a lot higher from here. Having done this for over 25 years, I have learned that stranger things can happen."
Many of Trump's policies could already be priced into the market and there is minimal upside to current levels, said Michael Berger, founder of Technical420, a Sarasota, Fla.-based company that conducts research on cannabis stocks.
The biotech and legal cannabis industries appear to be resilient to a potential recession.
"We see the best opportunities in the parts of the market that offer strong growth potential," he said. "We view biotech cannabis stocks like GW Pharmaceuticals (GWPH) and MJ Biopharma (VNNYF) , as well as legal Canadian cannabis retailers like Emblem (EMMBF) and The Green Organic Dutchman as some of the top opportunities of 2017."
Why Markets Can Reach New Highs
Of course, investors must decide the appropriate multiple for earnings growth in determining how much higher the markets can reach, said Yale Bock, a portfolio manager with Covestor, the online investing company, and president of Y H & C Investments in Las Vegas.
The multiples are able to head higher because the S&P 500 trades at a little over 18 times forward earnings and if companies could continue to "bang out record levels of profits, especially on the tech side," he said.
The markets could see the Dow reach 21,500 to 21,800 and the Nasdaq at 6,150 to 6,300, Bock estimates.
The Dow could rise even more and reach 22,000 or 24,000 in the next two years, based on a 9% to 10% per year historical average of the index, positive fundamentals and President Trump's policies, said Jon Ulin, a managing principal of Ulin & Co. Wealth Management in Boca Raton, Fla.
The current bull market still has "room to run" and could reach new highs because of historically low interest rates and the rise of corporate profits, inflation and wages, he said.
Unlike the 2007 credit crisis and large equity overvaluations of 1987 and 2000, this current market lacks any "big-bear market triggering events on the table" for the next year, but investors should be ready for the increased volatility since the current economic cycle is more than half way through, Ulin said.
"Investor sentiment and market fundamentals drive stock prices over time like riding a tandem bicycle," he said. "The madness of the crowd or crowd psychology is less rational overtime than the markets themselves. All the brokers coming back out of the woodwork selling doom and gloom hedging products need to chill out a bit."
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