The S&P 500 index has clawed its way back to flat on the year, following what had been a 6 percent decline earlier this month. Now that we've survived the experience and are wrestling with what to do next, one singular question dominates the discussion: Are stocks cheap?
The team at Strategas Research Partners thinks so. Their morning note shows several current valuation metrics at a discount to longer-term averages.
In addition, Strategas founder Jason Trennert notes that a number of the firm's institutional clients describe stocks as an asset class for which "there is no alternative," thanks to negative real interest rates. With central banks around the world effectively paying investors to take risk, U.S. corporations offer the only real opportunity for growth. Investors therefore say they have no choice but to buy stocks. Thank you Yellen & Co. for making our path clear.
Maybe you're not convinced. Consider the support reiterated by global central bankers in the past 24 hours:
Not only are bankers making clear their continued support, valuation appears cheap. As for the technicals, stocks are still trending higher. Here's the chart:
One final note: Today's S&P 500 open at 1,836 is below even the lowest year-end target of the 21 strategists tracked by Bloomberg. (That's 1,850, from Gina Martin Adams of Wells Fargo.) Will every strategist prove too bullish this year -- even the bears? We suspect not. We remain bullish.