In March 2012, Goldman Sachs said the prospects for making money in equities relative to bonds "were as good as they had been in a generation."
Goldman is still bullish on stocks today, but with more muted expectations.
"We believe we are in transition from the 'hope' phase—the initial strong phase of an equity market recovery based on expectations—into a 'growth' phase—the second stage of the cycle driven by earning and dividend growth," the bank wrote in a portfolio strategy research paper for clients. "This phase tends to be longer but with more moderate returns and low volatility."
Goldman's call 18 months ago was a good one: the Dow Jones industrial average gained 16.78 percent from March 21 through the end of trading Wednesday.