U.S. Markets close in 5 hrs 28 mins

The lackluster market in 2018 is paving the way for big gains in 2019: UBS

Scott Gamm

Investors can’t seem to catch a break this year amid the S&P 500’s (^GSPC) paltry 2% gain, but some historical market trends are pointing to a strong 2019.

That’s the assessment from fresh UBS analysis, led by chief U.S. equity strategist Keith Parker. UBS said the S&P 500’s price-to-earnings ratio has declined by 2x earnings so far this year.

That’s because stocks rose parabolically throughout the month of January, clocking a 7% gain in that month alone, before plunging into correction territory in the months to follow.

This year’s drop in stock valuations could pave the way for better stock returns in the coming years. “In the years following a  P/E decline of >1x, S&P 500 returns have averaged 16%,” the analysts said.

UBS strategists are looking for gains in the stock market in 2019.  (AP Photo/Richard Drew, File)

Even with the recent bout of volatility, UBS remains bullish on stocks. While October’s 7% pullback in the S&P 500 trounced the 5% dip UBS was expecting, they still see the S&P 500 rising 17.4% from now until the end of 2019.

“We target 3200 for the S&P for 2019 year end on 7% EPS growth and a rise in the  P/E, in line with history after de-ratings,” they said. “No further trade escalation, solid but  slowing growth and moderately higher rates underpin our view.”

The S&P 500 currently stands at 2,724.

In terms of sectors, UBS is overweight energy, industrials and communication services, a new S&P 500 sector that includes FANG name Alphabet (GOOGL).

Scott Gamm is a reporter at Yahoo Finance. Follow him on Twitter @ScottGamm. Follow Yahoo Finance on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Flipboard, LinkedIn, and reddit.

More from Scott:

These 2 forces could prompt companies to cut capital expenditures

Mike Mayo warns of a capitalism ‘civil war’ if Congress passes this bill