Sonders On Valuations, The Economy, And How The Wealth Effect Is Helping

Charles Schwab Chief Investment Strategist Liz Ann Sonders says she doesn’t think growth will exceed 2% or 3% for the U.S. “for an extended time”, but thinks stocks will continue to do well.

“That’s not a bad environment for the stock market, because it keeps inflation low and keeps the Fed’s liquidity flowing,” Sonders tells Harlan Levy in an interview on Seeking Alpha. “To some degree we used to call this environment ‘Goldilocks,’ but I don’t think anybody would attach that label to today’s economic environment, but slowish growth, keeping inflation in check, and the Fed on the side of the bulls is usually a pretty good recipe for the stock market.”

Sonders says that sentiment has gotten a bit elevated recently, but adds that any pullback that occurs is “unlikely to be terribly sinister”. She also says that, all in all, she sees the market’s valuation as reasonable. “To some degree valuation is in the eye of the beholder and a function of what earnings stream you’re looking at,” she says. “I think looking at a variety of measures of valuation — forward P/E, five-year normalized P/E, the equity risk premium, the percentages of S&P 500 stocks that have dividend yields higher than the 10-year Treasury yield, price-to-cash-flow, I think collectively the market is relatively cheap, no worse than in line.”

Sonders also says that housing “looks great”, and says the sector could add a full percentage point to GDP this year. And she discusses how the “wealth effect” helped counteract the tax hikes and government cuts that have recently gone into effect.