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Fundstrat Global Advisors co-founder Tom Lee is pushing back against claims that the stock market is in a dangerous bubble, telling clients that equities are likely set for another strong decade.
In reiterating his bullish outlook on Monday, Lee noted that bonds and gold have “easily” outperformed equities since the start of 2019, leaving stocks with room to run.
He also noted that of the $3.1 trillion of retail inflows into financial assets since 2008, the vast majority of funds has been dumped into bonds despite the outperformance of equities.
There’s “no bubble in stocks,” Lee wrote in an email. ”‘Deflation’ and ‘calamity insurance’ outperformed stocks in the past 2 years, by a wide margin.”
“Second, look at the lopsided retail investor inflows since 2008. Of the $3.1 trillion of inflows into financial assets, 94% went into bonds,” he added. “Can stocks be in a ‘bubble’ if 94% of investor inflows are into bonds? Wouldn’t that make bonds a bubble?”
Investors have paid close attention to Fundstrat’s recent notes since Lee is one of few Wall Street researchers whose stock-market predictions proved reliable across 2020′s extreme ups and downs.
Despite last year’s volatility, the former JPMorgan strategist was largely upbeat on equities throughout 2020, and on Monday, he panned assertions that stocks were near a top.
“One might be tempted to think the past 12 months shows a more favorable equity flow environment. That is not the case,” he wrote. “Investors liquidated stocks at an accelerating pace since 2017. The past 3 years saw massive outflows from equities.”
Lee said demographic changes over the next decade will also bode well for certain sectors of the equity market.
An aging millennial population will not only reach peak income years, but also reach peak spending as one of the largest generations of the last century purchases homes and starts families.
“We have written extensively about the demographic tailwind created by Millennials (born 1980 to 2000),” Lee wrote. “The most important aspect, in our view, is the growth rate of 30-50 year old in the US — the heart of the prime consumer.”
“This figure is accelerating due to Millennials” and is “at a pace not seen since 1970-1999,” the strategist added.
And that expected price acceleration, Lee says, may finally lead to a return of inflation and favor asset-based areas of the market like real estate, gold and bitcoin.
Last month, Fundstrat said pent-up demand, massive relief and a celebration of Covid-19′s finale could lead to a “substantially stronger” recovery in U.S. economic growth.
Lee and his colleagues see certain travel stocks and retailers leading the S&P 500 to 4,300 in the second half of this year, a 14.5% rally from where the market index ended 2020.
Fundstrat calls the names set to benefit most from a recovery from Covid the “epicenter” stocks. The firm is recommending these stocks to maximize returns in the new year. Names on the list include Harley Davidson, MGM Resorts, Hilton, Norwegian Cruise Line and Gap.