Those who read my New Year predictions already know that my target for the S&P 500 at the end of 2015 is a range of 2,288-2,392, or up 10%-15%.
When I made that forecast, I was heaped with abuse, derision and scorn, as usual. Perma bears and market haters never miss an opportunity to loose their slings and arrows against those who have been bullish (read accurate), impatiently awaiting their ever-receding vindication.
I love this bunch because it is they who are creating the ?wall of worry? that keeps investors on the sidelines, perennially in fear of an instant playback of the 2008-09 stock market crash.
It is all a perfect prescription for higher share prices.
For a while in January, it looked like the bears might at last be having their day in the sun. Volatility (VIX) spiked to 23%, ten-year bond yields (TLT) crashed to 1.62%, and crude oil (USO) plumbed the depths of $43 a barrel.
February has brought us a horse of a different color. The S&P 500 has sprinted up from a January 2 print of 2,080 to 2,123, a gain of 43 points, or 2%. That is right on schedule as far as I am concerned.
Maybe my outlook is not so ?Mad? after all.
And the best is yet to come.
For those who missed my all asset class calls for 2015, it?s not too late to take advantage of my insights. Please click here for my ?2015 Annual Asset Class Review?.
My friends at Stockcharts.com produced some cogent analysis yesterday that lent more credibility to my high side targets. It outlines the entire technical argument in favor of a continuation of the bull market. I guess great minds think alike.
Check out the chart below and you?ll see they are expecting a 2,240 target for the first half of this year, up another 5.5% from today?s level.
They see an unfolding repetition of the huge 10% leg up that began last October, and was followed by a two month period of digestion. They expect that the technology driven NASDAQ will do even better.
The reason, quite simply, is that it?s different this time. The last time NASDAQ was poking around the 5,000 level the world was unrecognizable from today. In fact, it might as well have been the Pleistocene Age.
There were only 361 million people connected to the Internet in 2000. Today the figure is 3 billion, an 8-fold increase.
Some 2 billion consumers now use smart phones, compared to a few hundred thousand 15 years ago.
There has also been a 1,635% increase in e-commerce during the same period. No small part of that has come from sales of the Diary of a Mad Hedge Fund Trader.
Internet companies are now hugely profitable. Look no further than the blowout numbers announced by Salesforce.com today. At the new millennium, Internet purveyors only had ?eyeballs? to boast of.
Speaking to my own followers on a daily basis, I can tell that the greatest misconception about the stock market is that prices are rising because of quantitative easing. That aggressive policy of monetary easing started here in the US first, and then spread to Japan and Europe like an Ebola Virus.
Nothing could be further from the truth.
Stock prices are rising for the old fashioned reasons. They are making more money. Rising earnings are driving asset prices, not QE. While the stock indexes have tripled in six years, earnings multiples have risen only 70% off the bottom, from 10 to 17.
This yawning disparity can only be explained by the massive profits that American companies are making, both here and abroad. This has happened in the face of the most rapid improvement in corporate balance sheets in history.
And while QE in the US has been dead for six months, the earnings explosion is only just getting started.
What happens after European and Japanese economic collapses? European and Japanese economic recoveries, now that they have adopted our monetary policy. This is what the stock market was screaming at us by going up almost every day this month.
This is the fundamental basis for my positive outlook for US equities, which could keep rising in value until well into the 2020?s. What?s driving those equity prices? Hyper accelerating technology and productivity improvements. Those are speeding up, not slowing down.
US companies are becoming so efficient that they don?t need us pesky humans anymore.
Perhaps I am so bullish because I see all this stuff playing out before my eyes on my front doorstep here in Silicon Valley. Not a day goes by when I don?t receive a pitch soliciting a new venture capital investment.
I was eating dinner at San Francisco?s posh Boulevard restaurant last week, feasting on my first foie gras since last summer (it was only decriminalized in California last month). Google founder Sergei Brin was sitting at the next table.
After polishing off a bottle of fabulous Screaming Eagle cabernet, I headed to the men?s room. I swear, while I was there standing at the urinal, some fresh faced kid made a pitch to me.
It was something about an app that was a takeoff on Match.com, where cell phones would mutually ping or vibrate when compatible partners came within range. I passed. They had clearly never heard of Heisenberg?s Uncertainty Principle. Besides, it?s already been done in Japan.
Someone approaching me in the men?s room! Now that is a sign of an overheated market!