The stock market is on one impressive stretch headed into year-end, which may bode well for future returns.
Through late last week, the S&P 500 (^GSPC) had gone 189 days — or nine straight months — without being more than 5% from a 52-week high, according to researchers at Sundial Capital Research. The S&P 500 also had logged its 43rd day with a 52-week closing before November.
Sundial says 2021 has been one of the most “consistent” years ever for markets.
That recent bout of consistency in markets could be chalked up to an impressive second quarter earnings season, headlined by big earnings beats and growth as corporate America rebounds from the COVID-19 pandemic. Meanwhile, traders have bid up stocks to record valuations also in the hopes the Federal Reserve pushes offering the tapering of bond purchases into 2021.
Whatever one’s view of why the market’s rally vibes have continued, the data suggests the bulls have reason to be encouraged over the next few months.
Sundial Capital Research went back decades and found that it took an average of 75 days — and more than an additional 10% gain for the S&P 500 — before there was a 5% pullback when stocks had gone nine consecutive months without a 5% retrenchment. It often didn’t pay for investors to be too concerned about the market’s outlook until the S&P 500 actually declined by 5% or more and held below its 200-day moving average, Sundial says.
“If we focus just on the price action of the most benchmarked index in the world [S&P 500], then 2021 compares with some of the easiest years ever for investors. Those precedents suggest further good times ahead, with worries only when larger trend indicators start to fail,” the researchers added.
With the momentum in toe, several Wall Street firms have started to raise their outlook on the S&P 500 for this year.
Mostly notably, Goldman Sachs Chief U.S. Equity Strategist David Kostin raised his S&P 500 target to 4,700 from 4,300 a week ago. For 2022 year-end, Kostin is now modeling for S&P 500 4,900 compared to 4,600 previously.
“The combination of higher-than-expected S&P 500 earnings and lower-than-expected interest rates drive our upgraded price targets,” Kostin explained.