Kass: Risk/Reward Ratio Improves
NEW YORK ( Real Money ) -- I have been concerned that the economic, fiscal, geopolitical and earnings cliffs would be in attendance over the balance of the year and into early 2013, serving to weigh down the U.S. stock market.
I still remain deeply concerned about the earnings cliff , but recent signposts suggest a somewhat more reduced concern over the economic, geopolitical and fiscal cliffs is in order. These signals, combined with central bank easing around the world, suggest that the rationale behind a meaningful market downside has been removed and that the market's risk/reward has improved.
The S&P 500 closed at 1415 on Friday, which is precisely my fair market value calculation -- with the exception of my increased fair market value to 1485 in May, my methodology has been reasonably accurate this year.
Reflecting the increased likelihood that my base-case election result will occur on Tuesday, with the Democrats easily retaining the presidency and (less easily) the control of the Senate, I see the downside to the S&P 500 over the remainder of the year limited to about 1390-1400. The upside to the S&P 500 should be 1450-1470. (See Scenario No. 1 in " More on the Business of Politics " below.)
In other words, year-end risk is about 20 S&P points, and reward is approximately 45 S&P points, for a better than 2-1 reward over risk.
The Global Economic Cliff Is Disappearing
While I am still in the camp that expects subpar global growth, recent indications are that a self-sustaining economic recovery is in place and that the recessionistas are dead wrong.
Indeed, among the developed countries, the U.S. is shining:
U.S. economy : High-frequency economic releases during the past four weeks suggest a slight reacceleration in domestic growth that should continue into 2013 -- of course, this is dependent upon how meaningfully and quickly the fiscal cliff is addressed.
The positives are accumulating:
- Jobless claims are declining, and jobs growth is accelerating. October payrolls increased to a net 171,000 jobs (compared to an estimate of only 125,000), private sector hirings were the most since February (helped by an unexpected increase in manufacturing hiring), and the previous two months' hirings were revised much higher.