Don't worry about 2014 tapering: Pro
Whether or not the Federal Reserve reduces its $85 billion-per-month bond-buying program, the improving economy next year will continue to bolster stocks, Adam Parker of Morgan Stanley said Wednesday.
"Look, the thing that you want to focus on is what could cause volatility in the earnings estimates," the chief U.S. equity strategist and managing director said. "What made us bullish was the fact that I didn't see what could cause big volatility to the downside in earnings. To me, the biggest risk from rates backing up is that you could get weakness in emerging markets."
On CNBC's "Halftime Report," Parker, who has a 2,014 target for the S&P 500 next year, said that he was aware of the argument that tapering of the Fed's quantitative easing would hurt stocks but wasn't buying it.
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"That's a two-day or a two-week concept, but if the economy's better, that should be better for stocks," he said. "And I think the simple message is one to focus on."
One real risk, Parker added, was from big tech names possibly seeing emerging market demand slowing.
Another would be economic trouble after tapering occurred, he said. "And then you can't really stick the taper back in the bottle, so to speak."
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But more likely would be improved situations for companies, Parker said.
"In the interim, it seems like earnings are going to grow. It seems like the economy will be slightly better in the first half of 2014 than we've seen in, you know, this 2 percent channel over the last year," he said. "And we're going to have a set of accommodative policymakers, whether they taper a little or not. So, to me, that's probably a reasonable backdrop for equities."
Parker added that reducing QE would be a good thing, asking, "Do you think we should be creating a trillion dollars on a computer forever to buy our own securities?"
His top sector picks included materials over industrials.
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"We're not saying, 'Go buy metals and mining,' " in which he acknowledged "consensus negativity."
"We're saying buy chemicals. They're the beneficiary of high oil," Parker said. "I think that looks better to me than industrials, which look more expensive, particularly the quality names, and energy, where I just don't see why the oil price is going to go up due to demand."
Parker also saw upside in technology.
"The bet on tech is really largely in software," he said. "I don't believe that capital spending's going to pick up a lot from the big companies next year. I don't think they need to do it. I don't think demand's strong enough. What they're going to do instead of putting buildings of people in place is they're going to invest in productivity. And I like that software bet."