Bob Doll Says Economy Presents Risk to Stocks

More so than politics, the current economic landscape could pose problems for the stock market, writes Bob Doll in a recent Barron’s article. Nuveen Asset Management’s chief investment strategist contends that, while investors are focused on how political uncertainty could affect equities, “near-term economic disappointment is a bigger issue.” Nevertheless, Doll writes, Nuveen remains constructive toward equities and other risk assets over the medium- and long-term.”

He shares the following insights:

  • Consumer confidence is high. In March, the Consumer Confidence Index hit its highest level in 17 years, and Doll expects this to boost consumption going forward.
  • Tax reform represents the biggest economic driver of Trump’s pro-growth agenda.
  • The failed GOP health care plan represents an impediment to tax reform.
  • Investors face the possibility of a government shutdown—unless tax reform is passed, the debt ceiling will become an “increasing political problem in the second half of the year.”
  • Economic growth will “be a major driver of equity returns.”
  • Doll argues that economic sentiment may be “too high and elevated confidence may make investors vulnerable to downside economic surprises.” While he doesn’t anticipate a major economic slowdown, Doll asserts that the “nearly non-stop pace of positive economic data is unlikely to continue.”