In a recent Barron’s article, Nuveen Asset Management’s Chief Equity Strategist Bob Doll says that, despite disappointing first quarter results and apparent earnings struggles, consumer spending will be a healthy tailwind for the economy as a whole. He offers contrasting views of the current market situation:
- Equity valuations don’t appear to be stretched;
- Earnings improvements should materialize in the coming quarters;
- The tumult in the oil market appears to be over;
- Investor sentiment may be overly bearish;
- Corporate tax reform prospects for next year appear strong.
- Improvements in the earnings outlook are probably necessary for equity markets to see a sustained uptick;
- Investors may be overly complacent about Federal Reserve rate hikes;
- Global growth is likely to remain anemic;
- The U.S. political backdrop is a wild card.
- Regulatory scrutiny over mergers and acquisitions appears to be heightening, which could suppress equity-friendly activity.
According to Doll, investors continue to be pessimistic and defensively positioned, holding large amounts of cash. While they believe that market conditions may not be as dire as once thought, they are disheartened by what they see as slim economic growth prospects.
He contends that market positives outweigh negatives, but says that investors will need firm evidence of a recovery before moving back into equity investments in a meaningful way.