If you’re having a difficult time figuring out where the SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust (NYSE: SPY) is headed next in 2020, you’re not alone. Results of a new survey by DataTrek Research suggest investors are as divided as ever about what to expect from the stock market in the second half of 2020.
DataTrek Research recently surveyed 341 investors and asked them a range of questions about what they expect in the second half of the year.
When given a multiple choice question about where the S&P 500 will end 2020, survey responses were split almost perfectly even among the five choices. Exactly 21% chose “+5% to +10% from current levels,” 21% chose “within 5% up or down from current levels,” 20% chose “up over 10% from current levels,” 19% chose “down more than 10% from current levels,” and 18% chose “-5% to -10% from current levels.”
“We’ve never seen or done an investor survey over our many years in the business when every option from ‘really bad’ (down +10% from here) to ‘really good’ (+10%) got basically the same number of votes, and we’re only talking about the next 6 months,” DataTrek co-founder Nicholas Colas said.
Colas said the uncertainty is understandable given all the questions investors have about the lasting impact of COVID-19.
But while investors may not be on the same page about how much upside or downside to expect from the S&P 500 in the next two quarters, there was more of a consensus on other questions. Investors believe U.S. large-cap stocks will perform best (38% of respondents) in the second half of the year compared to gold (29%), U.S. small caps (11%) emerging market stocks (7%), cash (7%) and other investments.
Investors were even more on the same page when it comes to which stock market second will lead the charge. More than half (52%) of respondents said the tech sector will be the top sector in the next six months followed by health care (12%) and financials (7%).
While investors can’t agree on how good or bad the second half of 2020 will be for the S&P 500, there was one silver lining. When asked whether the S&P 500 will re-test its 2020 low of 2,237 back in March, 71% said “no.”
Colas agrees with that conclusion and said if the S&P 500 does re-test the March lows, it will be a sign of much larger problems.
“If we do retest it will be because markets have lost hope that fiscal and monetary stimulus can fill the economic hole left by the COVID crisis,” Colas said.
This year is an extreme example of how difficult it is to predict the stock market even on a six-month basis. Thinking back to the beginning of 2020, it’s unlikely any investor could have foreseen what would happen to the market between January and July.
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