Stock Market Is Only Halfway Through Bull Run: Birinyi

The stock market is only about halfway through a bull run that will catapult the Standard & Poor's 500 another 60 percent over the next two to three years, well-known stock analyst Laszlo Birinyi told CNBC.

NYSE traders
NYSE traders

As many other market pros await a pullback, Birinyi, head of Birinyi Associates, anticipates that the market will continue the rally that began off the March 2009 lows.

The surge paused last summer but has run full steam until the violence in Libya and the crisis in Japaninterrupted it over the past month.

"The last bull market was five years. We're still looking for (this) bull market to last four to five years," Birinyi said. "If we cobble together all the long bull markets, we come up with a historical projection of about 2,100 out two or three years from now on the S&P."

The projection, while bold, is actually a good deal less avid than an outlook from the firm earlier this year.

In a research note sent to clients in January, Birinyi's firm forecast that the S&P would hit 2,854 on Sept. 4, 2013.

The firm based on the projection on "quartiles" of bull market movements, each lasting 410 days, and reasoned that this market is only in its first leg.

He did not address the projection during his CNBC appearance, but did say historical analysis of previous bull markets suggest a compelling trend.

"There's always been arguments—it's too quick, there's not enough breadth, there's not enough volume, we're due for a correction," Birinyi said. "The problem with so much of this is it's opinion and commentary."

There also is worry that the rally is propelled solely by cash injections provided from the Federal Reserve that will run out in June.

"The good news is nobody's all in, because everybody's worried about all these tail risks, so that could fuel your rally," said Barry Sternlicht, CEO of Starwood Capital. "But when I look at the state of this country's balance sheet we're on this morphine of spending that we cannot keep doing. So the patient feels real good, but it's not sustainable."

Birinyi conceded that "the Fed is priming the pump," but noted that "the Fed's not buying Netflix," referring to the video rental company whose stock has soared this year.