U.S. stocks are set to nose-dive at least 20% in the course of this year, Wall Street’s top strategist has cautioned.
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The S&P 500 ended Thursday’s trading session more than 1% higher at 4,146 points. Since the beginning of the year, the index has gained 8.4%, rebounding from a turbulent 2022.
However, in an interview with Bloomberg TV on Thursday, Mike Wilson, Morgan Stanley’s chief U.S. equity strategist, warned that another downturn is looming for American stocks.
Wilson—who was ranked No. 1 in last year’s Institutional Investor survey after correctly predicting the selloff in stocks—said his base case is still for the S&P 500 to end this year at 3,900 points. His bear case puts the index at 3,600 at the end of 2023, while his bull case is for the S&P 500 to end the year at 4,200.
Before stocks get to those levels, though, Wilson said he is expecting a bleak scenario in which the S&P 500 plummets to a low somewhere between 3,000 and 3,300 points—a drop of more than 20% from current levels.
“That path to 3,900 we still think goes through [the] low 3,000s ultimately,” he said.
Wilson, who is a staunch bear and has been making the case for a broad selloff for some time, conceded that he had previously predicted the timing of a downturn incorrectly—but he stood by his pessimistic outlook for stocks in Thursday’s interview with Bloomberg.
“The tactical trading path we’ve gotten wrong this year is the timing of it,” he said. “[But] we don’t think the path is necessarily wrong. Calling the price and the time, it’s hard enough to get one right—to get both right, I think, is tricky. So we’ve been wrong on the timing for sure. But it doesn’t change our view.”
Regardless of what happened to the economy, Morgan Stanley believed equities were due to take a hit, according to Wilson.
“We’re in the earnings recession camp,” he explained. “So whether we have an economic recession or not, I think, isn’t as important as the earnings recession, and we’re highly confident that that’s going to happen.”
He warned, however, that many investors weren’t pricing in how badly the corporate earnings downturn was likely to be.
“The earnings situation is way worse than what the consensus thinks, which is more in line with what we’ve been saying all along,” he said. “And the banking stress only makes us more confident.”
Wilson isn’t alone when it comes to taking a bearish view on U.S. stocks.
At the end of last month, Larry McDonald, editor and founder of the widely read investing newsletter The Bear Traps Report—who famously called the subprime mortgage crisis—warned a stock market crash was on the way.
Meanwhile, Bank of America strategist Savita Subramanian insisted in a note last week that Wall Street was more pessimistic about stocks than it had been in years.
This story was originally featured on Fortune.com
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