It’s way too soon to bet on how the end of 2018 is going to pan out. This would imply that it’s even harder to start predicting how the 2019 financial markets are going to pan out. Barclays isn’t waiting for its year-ahead outlook.
Barclays is taking a cautiously optimistic stance for 2019, putting a 2019 year-end price target of 3,000 for the S&P 500. That is still 11% upside from the current 2,700 or so that was seen on Monday morning.
Maybe a price target that is 11% higher sounds fine in a vacuum. Where the issue comes into play is that the S&P 500 already peaked at 2,940 earlier in 2018. Also, mid-year Barclays had a modest overweight rating for global equities and the firm’s 2018 year-end price target for the S&P 500 was 2,900.
Does this imply that the bulk of the gains have already been seen? Or does it imply that equities are looking safer now that the major indexes have sold off so much?
All in all, Barclays may be signaling more of a range-bound year rather than a resumption of a strong bull market that would have been entering its 10th year. Barclays also made some sector ratings changes as well, with some changes noted below:
- The materials sector was raised to an Overweight rating.
- The communications services sector was given an Equal Weight rating.
- One downgrade was seen with financial services being lowered down to Market Weight from Overweight.
- And the industrials sector was lowered down to Underweight in the call.
Sometimes there are bullish calls based on today’s levels and news. Other calls may sound bullish until you start factoring in where the markets have already been and what the prior expectations were. The Barclays call, while optimistic in the absolute, is basically only looking for modest upside for now.