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Goldman Strategist Sees Risk of Further Stock Market Pullback

(Bloomberg) — Goldman Sachs Group Inc. strategist David Kostin said he sees downside risks to his target for U.S. stocks, adding to a chorus of Wall Street voices becoming more pessimistic.

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Kostin wrote in a note today that “risks appear tilted to the downside” to his forecast of 5,100 index points by year end. At the same time, Morgan Stanley strategist Michael Wilson — well known for his more pessimistic views on the market — today doubled down on a prediction for a further pullback.

Last week’s wild swings were “classic bear market action,” Wilson wrote in a note. “We remain sellers of rallies and of the view that S&P 500 fair value remains closer to 4,000 tactically,” he said.

While a drop to 4,000 — implying about 10% downside from Friday’s close — is not a central scenario for Goldman’s Kostin, he wrote in a note on Monday that a move to that level is possible if real U.S. treasury yields rise by 60 basis points to 0%.

The main U.S. equity benchmark rallied on Friday, closing with a weekly gain for the first time this year, after a rollercoaster of sharp intraday swings. The gauge is still down 7% in 2022 amid the prospect of interest rate hikes combined with slowing economic growth and geopolitical tensions, and has underperformed both European stocks and emerging markets indexes. Futures tracking the S&P 500 are pointing slightly lower this morning.

Morgan Stanley’s Wilson had the lowest year-end target for the S&P 500 out of 23 strategists surveyed by Bloomberg this month. While the index is now near the 4,400 he had predicted for end-2022, the strategist sees another 10% downside from the current level amid more aggressive tightening from the Federal Reserve and a slowdown in earnings growth.

Kostin’s 5,100 target, meanwhile, sits at around the mid-point of the 23 forecasts in Bloomberg’s survey. However, he wrote in today’s note that risks are rising, including the prospect of four rate hikes this year — compared to two hikes anticipated when Goldman originally released its outlook for 2022 — and “mixed” guidance so far in the earnings season.

Both analysts agree that the best strategy for today’s markets is to focus on quality. “We recommend investors focus on quality stocks and the potential upside that oil prices should drive for energy stocks,” Kostin wrote.

(Updates to add U.S. equity futures in fifth paragraph.)

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