Global stocks are likely to rise in the near term and investors should be selling into that strength, according to Credit Suisse strategists.
Reduced corporate profit expectations, tightening financial conditions due to Federal Reserve actions and elevated levels of corporate debt are three of the principal factors conspiring to limit market upside, the bank said in a research note. Weakness in China and an overall inability for central banks to respond also are compounding the challenge.
To be sure, Credit Suisse does not see conditions ripe for a bear market and is in fact forecasting a further boost in equities on top of the solid rally that has kicked off 2019.
But it anticipates that the market obstacles will make further increases tough to come by.
"We stick to the year-end targets ... which currently point to around 5% upside for the key global markets, but advise selling developed markets into the rally rather than continuing to build positions," analyst Andrew Garthwaite and others said in the report.
On the positive side, Garthwaite said a recession is unlikely, valuations are attractive particularly outside the U.S., and central bank pauses in rate hikes, like the one the market expects from the Fed, typically coincide with market gains.
The slowdown in corporate earnings, after a year in which U.S. companies posted 20 percent gains, is one obstacle. This year is likely to see that earnings pace domestically drop to 6.9 percent, according to FactSet.
"Global earnings revisions are now negative and correlate very closely to moves in equities," Garthwaite wrote. "At this level, they are now consistent with falling equities over the next year."