Doug Ramsey, CIO of Leuthold Weeden Capital Management, predicts a bear market. Although he expressed similar concerns in August, his past calls have been remarkably accurate and not consistently bearish. For example, he correctly called the rally beginning in 2011 and remained an advocate of bullish positions until 2014. “The odds are very high that the top was in May,” he said,”“I think we’re looking at a cyclical bear market.” He predicts the S&P will be down 20-25% from its May peak in 2015.
His reasoning is based on overvaluation. “Profit margins are incredibly high,” he explained, “so you end up with P/E ratios that we think probably understate the true degree of overvaluation.” Skip Aylesworth of Hennenessy Funds seems to agree: “Underneath the surface, there are lingering concerns over the overall health of the economy.” Similarly, Tom Mangan of James Investment Research points to slowing growth in domestic GDP as problematic. “It’s going to be difficult for companies to engineer higher earnings without that stronger GDP growth rate,” he suggested, concluding, “I don’t fault anyone for taking some money off the table here.”
This view may run counter to the consensus view as reflected in a recent Bloomberg survey that produced a median estimate of stocks up significantly by year end. Lawrence Creatura of Federated Investors suggests “it’s a great time to be a stock-picker” because “there are some very attractive pockets of inexpensively priced stocks right now.”