U.S. stock markets will experience a pullback from their record highs at the end of February, according to David Kostin, Goldman Sachs’ chief U.S. equity strategist, who believes that fund managers have become too bullish on the market.
Citing data from the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), published on Friday, Kostin said he believes that positions have grown “extreme” in the past five weeks — but he did say the S&P 500 could still end the year higher.
“The U.S. equity markets are likely to experience a pull-back some time in the next 4-6 weeks and that would be pretty consistent with the magnitude of an extreme reading we see in the commodities futures trading corporation data,” he told CNBC Monday.
Goldman Sachs has stated a target of 2,100 points by year-end for the S&P 500, and Kostin reiterated this again on Monday. However, the strategist also suggested that the index could reach 2,300 points if the U.S. Federal Reserve holds back on any interest rate hikes this year.
Profit margins for U.S. corporates are likely to remain flat, according to Kostin, which he believes will help markets grind higher during the course of this year. However, he also said the Fed will raise interest rates in September this year, which could cause indexes to “fade” at the beginning of winter.
“I think net-net you are looking at a market that is not going to trade a whole lot higher than where we are now,” Kostin said.
The bull market for stocks is currently in its sixth year, following the global financial crash of 2008. A wave of global liquidity from central banks has helped to prop up developed economies in recent years and has been the main driver behind stock markets, according to many economists.
Markets experienced a highly volatile first week of trade for 2015, with investors focusing on the slide in oil prices, political uncertainty in Greece and policy moves by global central banks. Stocks on Wall Street ended Friday’s session lower after a jobs report in the U.S. showed that hourly earnings declined.