Sonders Sounding Bullish, But Skeptical of QE2

Charles Schwab’s Liz Ann Sonders says she sees stocks rising by the end of 2010, though she also expects — and welcomes — some shorter-term weakness.

“We believe the more likely path of the stock market for the rest of 2010 is to the upside, although it’s likely to come with bumps along the way,” Sonders, along with Brad Sorensen and Michelle Gibley, writes in her latest market commentary. “[But] given the recent market run that we’ve seen, it wouldn’t be surprising to see some near-term weakness. In fact, we believe it would be healthy for the market to pull back a bit in order to relieve some of the overbought conditions that have developed.” She suggests using swings in the market to rebalance portfolios back to long-term asset allocation targets.

Sonders also reiterates her concern over another round of quantitative easing. Previously, she has said that enough money is in the economy — the problem is that it’s not making its way through the system as banks and  companies horde cash. She says a weaker dollar — a likely result of more easing — could also be a problem. “Although a weaker dollar will benefit exports in the short-term, it also means higher commodity prices,” she says.

“Given that exports only represents 12% of US gross domestic product, while the consumer represents 70%, the hit to the consumer by rising commodity prices could outweigh the benefit to US exports.” A declining dollar could also lead to protectionism, which could be trouble for the economy.

Sonders, Sorensen, and Gibley also discuss China’s economy and currency issues, and their impact on the U.S.; the potential for upside surprises in third-quarter earnings reports; and reasons for concern — and optimism — in several other countries around the globe.

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