There are plenty of observers watching the runup in stock prices over the past few years and saying they see a bubble, but BMO Capital Markets strategist Brian Belski is predicting the bull run will continue for 10 years.
Belski, a market veteran who joined BMO in 2012 after working for New York’s Oppenheimer & Co., is saying there is historical precedent for a long bull market after a crisis such as the period following the dot-com bubble in 2000.
The S&P’s 30 per cent expansion last year is “very in line for a fundamental recovery from really the depths of the great recession and the huge selloff in credit on Wall Street in 2008-2009,” Belski said in an interview with CBC’s Lang & O’Leary Exchange.
He is predicting returns of 10.5 per cent because of the ways fundamentals have changed since the shock of the financial crisis.
“When you look at how companies have really structurally changed — what I mean by that is, we’re looking at stockpiles of cash with respect to cash flow, cash on the balance sheet the strongest we’ve seen in America since the 1950s,” Belski said.
Companies may be excessively conservative right now and unwilling to invest, but they’ll come around as economies recover, he said.
“Cash drives things longer term, cash flow becomes earnings and that’s the stage of the cycle we’re beginning to enter into the next three to five years,” he said.
Toronto’s TSX index tested new highs last week, passing through 15,109, six years after it last hit record levels. It rose by nine per cent last year and closed up 12.28 points today at 14,974.65
“We’re bullish on Canada because we believe Canada will become increasingly co-related in terms of business operations with the U.S. The pipeline has a lot to do with it, we’re actually bullish on energy longer term,” he said.
Of course there are risks, he told CBC – among them the strong euro, China’s credit crunch and the slow recovery of North American jobs.
But Belski believes North American companies are solid. He’s recommending against utilities, saying investors have loaded up on them, but he likes technology stocks and financials and industrials in Canada and U.S.