The stock market rally could be losing its muscle.
A top strategist at Russell Investments is warning investors that strong earnings are not enough to keep stocks at record levels — and there’s nothing Federal Reserve Chief Janet Yellen or President Donald Trump can do about it.
“We are surprised at the resilience of the U.S. market. We recognize it’s been a good earnings season,” said Mark Eibel, the firm’s director of client investment strategies, on Tuesday’s “Futures Now.” “You’re really kind of banking on earnings staying or improving at this level particularly in light of the Fed raising rates at least one more time this year and until some policy gets through the administration.”
The Nasdaq has been the biggest winner. The index has rocketed 17 percent since the election, and broke the 6,000 level for the first time ever last week. It’s registered all-time intraday highs 29 times since just Jan. 1.
Wall Street has viewed Trump’s business-friendly policies as favorable to stocks and the economy. If the majority of his legislation makes it through Congress, Eibel argues a lot of the gains could already be priced into the market.
“Until some of the promises are fulfilled, you are kind of left with earnings,” added Eibel.
“The struggle moving forward from here is we know we are rolling off easy comparables from a year ago particularly in the energy space. So we won’t have that moving forward as much through the rest of the year.”
Eibel also points to the first quarter’s disappointing gross domestic product numbers and softer U.S. consumer spending as catalysts which could slow the rally, and cause stocks to move “sideways” or even “downward.”
The most effective way to keep profits growing would be to look abroad, according to Eibel.
“We just seem as if we’re priced for perfection here — where around the rest of the globe, you can get the same kind of story. There are politics everywhere. And with an improving political situation in Europe, you get cheaper stocks,” he said.
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