“We forecast S&P 500 cash spending will decline by an annual record 33% during 2020 as firms prioritize liquidity in a worsening economic environment,” strategists led by David Kostin wrote in a note Friday. He continues to expect a big decline in earnings per share for the first and second quarters. He noted that “most investors are already looking ahead to 2021 EPS.”
The impact of the coronavirus pandemic fueled a drop of as much as 34% on the S&P 500 from its record high Feb. 19 through March 23. But it has rallied 28% since then, as governments and central banks globally have been rolling out measures to try to keep the financial system operating and provide support to businesses and citizens.
Kostin is still bullish on U.S. stocks. In a report last week he scrapped a prediction that the S&P 500 might fall further, saying the gauge had likely bottomed due to fiscal and monetary policy support. He maintains a year-end target of 3,000 on the benchmark, which closed Friday at 2,875. That doesn’t mean it’ll be all smooth sailing, though — late last month, he estimated that dividends on the S&P 500 could fall by a quarter in 2020, and he projects buybacks will drop by half.
Among the predictions in Friday’s report:
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