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When it comes to equity analysts Teun Draaisma is a must-read.  The European equity analyst famously called for investors to sell stocks in June 2007 when the markets were flashing a “full house sell” signal.  He then flipped bullish in November of 2008 as the markets were pricing in a much more severe situation than Draaisma saw unfolding.  He’s one of the few investors who actually got the downturn and the upturn correct and was able to connect the dots between cause and effect.  In his latest strategy note Draaisma is saying the rally has gotten ahead of itself and that we’re due to for a correction as good news becomes bad news.  In addition to being bearish about 2010 (see here), Draaisma says the better than expected growth in the near-term is putting more pressure on the Fed to raise rates and will lead to tightening measures sooner than most investors suspect:

“The rally since 5-February is nearing its end, we believe. Our thesis is that good growth will lead to tightening measures and struggling equity markets this year, just like in 1994 and 2004. The recent rally was larger than we expected, and in our eyes was due to:

1) there have been no positive payrolls or Fed language change yet (we even saw some loosening rather than tightening
measures last week, with the Greek bailout, the ECB keeping its wide collateral pool for longer and the Obama plan for troubled
mortgage borrowers).

2) sentiment had turned quite cautious in early February. Nevertheless, we do think the market peak associated with the start of tightening is near, and expect 2010 to show a volatile whipsaw pattern in equities.  We expect good payrolls (April 2) and a Fed language change (April 30), some leading indicators are rolling over from multi-decade peaks (ECRI leading indicator for the US, OECD leading indicator for the world), and some sentiment surveys have turned more bullish.”

Draaisma believes the market will decline 11% in the next 3-6 months:

“The 3-6 month outlook: tactical caution. The last 12 months have been characterised by record stimulus and rising economic leading indicators.  We think the next 6 months will be characterised by some stimulus withdrawal (as a reaction to good growth in Asia and US), and softening leading indicators.   We reduced our equity exposure two months ago. We recommend selling into strength, and we think MSCI Europe will reach 1030 at some point later in 2010,  down 11% from here.”

On a longer time horizon Draaisma says the markets remain entangled in a bear market and that investors should not be fooled by the cyclical bull within a secular bear:

“The multi-year outlook: the secular bear market that started in 2000 is not yet complete (pages 11-13).  We believe the secular bear market is incomplete for a variety of reasons, including that banking crises and bailouts tend to precede debt crises; that the amount of debt has not been reduced yet (it only changed hands to the government); that equity valuations never reached end of bear market levels; and our historical analysis that equities tend to struggle for longer in the aftermath of secular bear markets.   When the next earnings recession hits, perhaps in 2012, we expect equities to complete the bear market that started in 2000.”

Draaisma’s outlook isn’t exactly consensus, but then again, it never really has been.  And that makes his research a breath of fresh air on Wall Street.

Source: MS

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