Bob Doll, global chief investment officer for fundamental equities at BlackRock, said U.S. corporate earnings growth—fueled by productivity gains, expanding markets in the developing world, low inflation and a declining dollar—should jump about 20% this year. As a result, stock prices, as represented on the Standard & Poor’s 500, should rally another 12% from their Jan. 4 open of 1116.56, he said.
“On balance, we believe the U.S. Recovery is for real—but the economy will grow at a pace slower than that of a typical recovery,” Doll said. “From here on, the market will be driven primarily by gains in corporate earnings and real advances in the economy—not by global policy action, liquidity issues, or relief that the world has avoided a depression.”
He also noted that structural issues in the economy presented problems. “Chief among these are ongoing consumer deleveraging; a banking system facing deteriorating loan quality and an increasing yet uncertain regulatory environment; securitizations markets still largely shuttered, and a real estate market that may still be healing for several years.”
Doll’s favorite sectors are: healthcare (especially managed care and healthcare services), information technology and telecommunications. But, financials, Doll said, are likely to continue to underperform.