Pardon the obvious, Wall Street is a pretty bullish place. So, it’s refreshing to hear someone down there actually say things don’t look so good.
Ed Keon is one of the few.
“There remains a high level of caution and pessimism in the country among the average consumer and business executive,” said Keon, managing director and portfolio manager for Quantitative Management Associates. He spoke Tuesday at Prudential’s 2010 Midyear Market Outlook panel, the one with the tantalizing title: “Will the economy double-dip?” He added, “There’s plenty of money to invest, but people are reluctant to do so.”
He says the stock pullback is a symbol of not just the economic activity, but also a malaise among the American people. But he believes stocks represent a good value, compared to the long-term bond. The dividend yield for the S&P 500 Index is 2%. Considering that a quarter of the index doesn’t pay dividends, many of the stocks in the index are paying 3% to 6%, compared to the 10-year bond’s yield of 2.9%. When you can get a better return from risky large-cap stocks than Treasury’s you know stocks are cheap. Remember, prices move inversely to yield. So as prices move lower, yields rise.
For a full explanation of the relationship of yields to prices and dividends, check out Dividends Stocks for Dummies.
Not only are stocks cheap, but earnings are strong and will come in above expectations, said Keon. Still he cautions again the expectation that stocks will see a sudden resurgence of confidence. Until we address the structural problems in the economy, Keon said we won’t be able to get moving until we deal with the giant levels of debt. He says he’s currently holding allocations near benchmark weights, but is underweight TIPS bonds.
Top ETFs holding TIPS in alphabetical order:
- Barclays Capital TIPS Bond Fund (TIPS)
- PIMCO 1-5 Year U.S. TIPS Index Fund (STPZ)
- SPDR Barclays Capital TIPS ETF (IPE)
- SPDR DB International Government Inflation-Protected Bond ETF (WIP)