US-China trade deal and market rally will happen by year-end, predicts investment strategist

  • State Street Global Advisors' Michael Arone expects the market to bounce after the midterm elections.
  • He also predicts the U.S. and China will come to terms on a trade deal, which should push the market higher into next year.
  • Cresset Wealth Advisors' Jack Ablin sees a short-term upswing after midterms but headwinds ahead.

The stock market is setting up for a year-end rally, strategist Michael Arone told CNBC on Monday.

He expects a bounce after the midterm elections thanks to strong earnings, monetary policy that is still "pretty easy" and fiscal policy that should continue to support the market.

And the outcome of the elections isn't necessarily key to that rally.

"Regardless of the midterm elections' outcome, we're likely to see a negotiated deal, kind of outlines of a deal, between the U.S. and China by year's end. I think that will help give the markets confidence to move higher into next year," the chief investment strategist at State Street Global Advisors said on "Power Lunch." The firm has $2.7 trillion in assets under management as of June 30, 2018.

Arone said what will get both sides to the table is the fact that neither country can afford a protected trade war because they both have economies that are gradually slowing.

U.S. President Donald Trump, left, and Xi Jinping, China's president, shake hands during a news conference at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China, on Thursday, Nov. 9, 2017.
Qilai Shen | Bloomberg | Getty Images
U.S. President Donald Trump, left, and Xi Jinping, China's president, shake hands during a news conference at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China, on Thursday, Nov. 9, 2017.

Trade tensions have been escalating between the U.S. and China, with each country slapping tariffs on the other. On Monday, Bloomberg News reported the U.S. is planning to institute levies on more Chinese products if upcoming talks falter. The news sent U.S. stocks lower Monday afternoon, erasing gains from earlier in the day.

Equities are down sharply this month, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average losing 6.7 percent and the S&P 500 dropping 8.8 percent. The Nasdaq Composite has lost 10.9 percent for October, through Friday's close.

In addition to the late-year bounce, Arone expects even more juice for the market next year from new fiscal policy.

"What will happen is, towards the second half of next year, as the economy's slowing and monetary policy is tightening and earnings are also decelerating, you're likely to see Republicans and Democrats find peace and love and start to put forward another fiscal policy package into a national election year in 2020," he said. "That will help support stock prices."

Jack Ablin, founding partner and chief investment officer at Cresset Wealth Advisors, agrees that history shows there is usually a market pop after the midterms. However, longer term there are some headwinds, he told "Power Lunch."

For one, he thinks the second-quarter gross domestic product increase of 4.2 percent is the best the economy will see for a while.

"We're essentially, I believe, beating a 2 or 3 percent donkey into a 4.2 percent racehorse. It's just not sustainable," Ablin said.

Plus, central banks around the world are ending their "extremely accommodative" policies, he added. The Federal Reserve is already raising interest rates and unwinding its balance sheet, and the European Central Bank has said it will end its monetary easing at the end of the year.

"It's probably just part of a natural correction. I don't expect the economy to fall off a cliff. I don't expect the market to fall off a cliff. But I do think we have to grapple with those headwinds," said Ablin. "We'll just hunker down and move forward."

Morgan Stanley, however, is gearing up for a bear market. The bank's chief equity analyst, Michael Wilson, wrote on Monday that the "rolling bear market continue to make progress and there is growing evidence that it is morphing into a proper cyclical bear market in the context of a secular bull."

That thesis breaks with the rest of Wall Street's thinking. Goldman Sachs, for one, says a market rebound is coming thanks to company share buybacks.

— CNBC's Tom Franck, Fred Imbert and Stefanie Kratter contributed to this report.

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