December 14, 2020
STOCKS AND BONDS OUTLOOK FOR 2021
Jeffrey Buchbinder, CFA, Equity Strategist, LPL Financial
Nick Pergakis, Analyst, LPL Financial
Stocks and bonds posted strong returns in 2020 despite a tumultuous year, although that may be surprising only for bonds. We believe we’re in the early stages of a new bull market for stocks, but the opportunities for bond investors may require more patience. The investment landscape for both asset classes may offer new opportunities for investors in the New Year.
2021 STOCK MARKET OUTLOOK
In Outlook 2021: Powering Forward, our 2021 year-end fair value target for the S&P 500 Index is 3,850–3,900, reflecting about an 8% total return from the close on December 11. Our target is based on a price-to-earnings (PE) ratio of around 20—slightly below current valuations—and our preliminary 2022 earnings per share (EPS) estimate of $190 [Figure 1].
Skeptics might say after a 64% rally in the S&P 500 since the low on March 23, 2020, that this market may soon run out of gas. Historically, the second year of previous bull markets has been rewarding for investors. We think this bull market is set up potentially for a better-than-average first two years based on the experience during the 2008–09 financial crisis and an expected strong earnings rebound. Fiscal and monetary stimulus and pent-up demand once the economy fully opens will help.