Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Stocks contra bonds

Goldman Sachs: Best Time in a Generation to Buy Stocks, Sell Bonds

As much as most of us could effortlessly list a dozen reasons why the next 10 years will be as hard on stock investors as the previous decade, what matters today is that Goldman Sachs (GS) is making a big call to the contrary.
In a research note out this morning, "The Long Good Buy," Goldman's chief global equity strategist, Peter Oppenheimer, unveils a whopper:
"The prospects for future returns in equities relative to bonds are as good as they've been in a generation."
In one fell swoop, Oppenheimer has not only called out the analysts that we just highlighted for being 6-months late in supporting the current rally, but raised the ante by calling for more of the same, for the foreseeable future. Specifically, "a steady upward trajectory over the next few years."
"It's a curious time to do it," Macke says in the attached video. "They're either very, very late or prescient as all get out."
The heart of the call is really about bonds, in that Oppenheimer's preference for equities is couched in a belief that rising bond yields are going to basically ruin fixed income returns forever.
Truthfully, there are so many variables at play that mega-calls like this can be unhelpful since you need to wait around 20 years to see if they're right or wrong. How can anyone expect to be able to reasonably predict where earnings, the economy, interest rates, the political climate or geopolitical events will be next year, let alone in 10 or 20 years from now.
Comment: Yes, alright, Oppenheimer, see you in 20 years. Anyway, you may be right, particularly given a terrible performance of bonds so that relative to this junk, stocks could indeed do "relatively" well. An investor may lose terribly with you being right, Peter.

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