Bob Doll Says a Market Correction is Possible

Bob Doll says that current market optimism may be “overdone and markets could be vulnerable to disappointment” in an article he wrote for Barron’s earlier this month.  Still, Nuveen’s chief investment strategist is maintaining a pro-growth stance and a “constructive view toward equities.”

In the article, Doll outlines what his firm sees as five possible risk areas for stocks:

U.S. Politics: Investors, writes Doll, may lose what has been steadfast patience and optimism if “specifics about issues such as tax policy and health care reform are not forthcoming.”

European Politics: While the European risk profile has calmed a bit due to the decreased popularity of presidential hopeful Marie Le Pen (of the National Front party), Doll argues that the rise of similar nationalist candidates may “pose a risk to economic growth and equity markets.”

Earnings: “Forward-looking projections” writes Doll, may be inflated, even though earnings have recently improved.

Economic Growth: Noting an “almost uninterrupted string of growth surprises in the U.S. economy over the past several months,” Doll expects more “bumps” ahead.

The Fed: Rising rates, according to Doll, could eventually suppress equity market momentum. *

Doll expects continued improvements in the global economy and sees “few signs of stress that would signal a coming recession” particularly if the new administration follows through with its pro-growth agenda.

He also suggests, however, that the markets “may be ahead of themselves” due to excessive optimism and that the rate of the current rally is not likely to continue. “As such,” he writes, “we think a pullback or correction is possible at some point.”

*NOTE: The Fed raised its benchmark rate on Wednesday for the second time in three months, this time to a range between 0.75 percent and 1 percent.