Shilling: Still Bearish

Gary Shilling, the economist, money manager, and Forbes columnist, isn’t changing his bearish view, despite the market’s big recent rally.

“I think it is a bear market rally,” Shilling told Yahoo! TechTicker this morning. He says he expects S&P 500 earnings of about $40 for 2009. Put what he calls a “generous” multiple of 15 on those earnings, he says, and you end up with a year-end S&P value of 600.

Shilling’s longer-term prognosis also remains somewhat gloomy. He says that eventually, “there will be a pickup” in earnings and the economy. “But,” he adds, “I’m looking for a slow recovery. Long-term growth I think is going to be decidedly slower than it has been over the last several decades.”

The reasons: Consumers will remain very cautious as they move from a borrow/spend mentality to a saving mindset; the financial sector will continue to deleverage; commodity prices won’t be high enough to give oil producing foreign nations the money to spur big global growth; and government intervention in the financial system will slow growth.

Shilling notes that in 8 of the 11 recessions since World War II, there has been at least one quarter of positive growth, so even a strong GDP reading at some point this year might not mean the end of the recession. “It could be the bottom,” he acknowledged of the current turnaround’s starting point. “Nobody rings the bell. But in my view there’s enough in the way of problems out there that it probably is a bear market rally.”

As for how he’s handling the money he manages, Shilling says he’s keeping his clients mostly on the sidelines.

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