The economy may be sluggish and the deficit swollen but the stock market apparently couldn’t care less. Both the S&P 500 (^GSPC) and the Dow (^DJI) are poised to close the quarter with double-digit gains: 10% for the S&P 500 and 11% for the Dow.
This good news isn’t lost on James Altucher, an investor, author, entrepreneur and managing director of Formula Capital. Two years ago he told The Daily Ticker that the Dow was headed for 20,000 and today he reaffirmed that forecast.
“We could see Dow 20,000 easily in 2014 or early 2015,” Altucher says. Earnings and P/E ratios are rising, and the Dow is still relatively cheap, he notes, adding that the consensus P/E forecast for 2014 forward earnings is near 12 compared to a historical average of 15 or 16.
But when the Dow does breach 20,000, Altucher advises to “take some chips off the table. [By] 2015, 2016, I’m getting nervous. I want to be in cash.”
Altucher dismisses fears about an asset bubble because stocks are relatively cheap. “Microsoft (MSFT) is [trading] at nine times earnings; Apple (AAPL) is at 10 times earnings; Exxon (XOM) is at six times cash flows. Where’s the bubble? “
There are other reasons why an asset bubble is not forming, according to Altucher.
“Can you get a loan? I don’t know anybody who can get a loan…Nobody is lending money….The only money in the economy is the Fed printing money," he says.
Eventually when investors can easily borrow funds to buy stocks, that will start the “final leg of a stock market boom,” says Altucher.
In the meantime he favors stocks in several industries: technology (Google and Microsoft); diagnostics (Trovagene-TROV), temporary staffing and natural gas fracking.
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