Is the Rally Done? Different Views from Two Market Minds

In interviews with BusinessWeek, Howard Ward (of Mario Gabelli’s GAMCO) and Whitney Tilson offer very different takes on where the market is headed following the recent pullback.

According to Ward, the pullback isn’t a sign that the bull run is over. “There’s always going to be a reflexive action, a knee-jerk reaction, but it’s not a signal that the bull market is over,” he said. “I see rising earnings this year and next year pulling the market higher. There’s a good a chance the S&P 500 sees 1,300 before the year is out.” He’s particularly high on tech firms, including Apple and Google. “We’re getting greater evidence that the economy is beginning to kick into gear,” he said. “There’s every reason to expect a good year for stocks.

Tilson, meanwhile, says a recovery in earnings is already reflected in stock prices. His firm is about 25% net long on equities, which BusinessWeek reports is the lowest level in Tilson’s 11+ years as a fund manager. He is high on larger firms, on the theory that they should hold up better in a bad market. “We’re positioning ourselves extremely conservatively,” he said. “Given how much stocks have rallied since March, it’s hard to imagine a big bull market continuing from these levels.”

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