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Bull will run in 2015 but beware of inflation scare: Sonders

Nicole Goodkind
Nicole Goodkind

Liz Ann Sonders, Chief Investment Strategist at Charles Schwab, predicts that 2015 will be a good year for investors. Good, however, doesn’t mean it will be all sunshine and rainbows. She does predict that markets will have some mood swings along the way.

Sonders looked at historical data and found that the year after a midterm election tends to be strong, as does a year that ends in “5.” It may sound a bit superstitious, but data supports the idea: “Every year ending in a ‘5’, going back to 1905 has seen the stock market go up, and up a lot—an average of about 32%” says Sonders. Sonders notes that this is a fun fact, not a forecast. She doesn’t expect gains in the 30%-range next year.

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“We’re in the middle more mature phase of what I think is a secular bull market,” she says. “The returns will become a little more muted, we’ll see more bouts of volatility and more likelihood of pullbacks, largely because of where we are in the cycle.” She believes this will be healthy for stocks, and that a grind higher will elongate the bull market.

With the jobs picture improving, Sonders also predicts an inflation scare if we see an uptake in worker pay. “We’re seeing more than a third of CPI is owner’s equivalent rent—it’s close to 40%,” she says. “We’re seeing vacancies in the rental market, so if you get the wage component and the high percentage of inflation numbers that are associated with housing, you could start to see that kick into some concerns.”

Sonders doesn’t believe there is actual risk of an inflation problem, just a widespread scare. The current environment of inflation complacency makes her believe that something is going to give.

Watch the video above for Sonders take on the Case-Shiller Index and where we are in the current bull market.

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