The current investing enviornment is the Rodney Dangerfield of bull markets, because even after five years of bullish returns it is still not getting the respect it deserves, according to Liz Ann Sonders, Charles Schwabs chief investment strategist.
And, theres plenty of upside ahead for both the stock market and the U.S. economy, Sonders said during a keynote speech Tuesday at the annual spring forum of the Financial Planning Associations New York chapter.
While cautioning advisors that the market is overdue for a bit of a pullback, she remained optimistic for the long-term.
On forward-earnings, stocks appear under-valued, Sonders said. Referring to the emotional cycles of bull and bear markets ranging from euphoria to despair, she added that I dont think we are anywhere near the level of euphoria that indicates a market top.
While many investors were still hesitant about the equity markets, Sonders, also a senior vice president at Schwab, argued that these concerns were misplaced.
High unemployment numbers in particular are usually misinterpreted by investors, she told advisors.
People get this analysis wrong all the time, Sonders said. Unemployment is a lagging indicator which tells you absolutely nothing about the economy. In fact, she went on to say, recessions tend to start when unemployment is at a low point, while recoveries usually begin when unemployment is high.
One way to explain the correlation to clients, Sonders told advisors, is to compare the economy to the stock market: short it when unemployment is low and go long when its high.
However, the U.S. economy is growing well below its potential, Sonders said. She placed most of the blame on the countrys high debt levels, arguing that ever-rising levels of debt crowds out the ability of the private sector to grow.
But, Sonders said, the deficit is shrinking, the risk of inflation is very low, and private sector de-leveraging no longer represents a drag on the economy.
She also cited the renaissance of manufacturing and energy produced in the U.S. and its effectiveness as an overall jobs multiplier, particularly in the middle of the country. In fact, Sonders said, Whenever Im asked whats my favorite emerging market, I answer Middle America."
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