Monday, January 12, 2015

Market pullback? Yes. End of bull? Unlikely

NEW YORK -- Sure, the stock market is taking back a chunk of the big gains it showered on investors last year, but it's too early to say the nearly five-year-old bull market is dying — at least not yet, says Sam Stovall, chief equity strategist at S&P Capital IQ.

There's fear in the air for sure, after another drubbing Wednesday on Wall Street, which pushed the Standard & Poor's 500 index down 1%, extending its 2014 loss to nearly 4%.

WALL STREET: Grapples with Fed changeover

Stocks again headed south, this time on news of turmoil in emerging markets and the Federal Reserve's decision to continue cutting back on its market-friendly stimulus in the final meeting under Chairman Ben Bernanke before Vice Chair Janet Yellen takes the top post on Friday.

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"Transitions are increasing uncertainty," says Stovall. "From the leadership hand-off at the Fed, to the unwinding of the emerging market carry trade, to the eclipsing of the Lunar New Year from Snake to Horse." Indeed, "global investors are re-evaluating emer-ging market growth projections."

Adding to the angst is that CEOs are bumming Wall Street out with lousy profit forecasts.

"Better-than-estimated fourth-quarter results are being offset by managements' injection of increasingly somber forward guidance," Stovall says. "While these factors add up to a more cautious investment environment, we believe a resulting pullback or correction will not derail this bull market, as we see the ongoing Fed taper pointing to improving growth."

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