The great part about reading the 2014 forecast from CIBC World Markets is that Canada enters the picture. And with strategists and economists expecting a noticeable uptick in global economic growth next year, Canada's stock market should end its laggard-ways, even if the domestic economy continues to struggle.
Here is the outlook, distilled into 10 key points:
1. Global economic growth will improve to 4 per cent in 2014, but the economic cycles remains at a fragile point. Therefore, expect ongoing easy-monetary policies in North America, Europe and Japan – made relatively easy by the fact that inflation levels are below central bank targets.
2. U.S. 10-year Treasury yields will average about 3 per cent, with Federal Reserve "tapering" already built in to market expectations. If yields start rising, expect the Fed to change the criteria for when it will increase its key rate, or taper more slowly.
3. The Bank of Canada is employing "phantom" rate cuts: It talks about them, but doesn't implement them.
4. Canadian stocks look cheaper than U.S. stocks. Expect earnings growth of 12 per cent, giving the S&P/TSX composite index a price-to-earnings ratio of just 13.5.
5. Canadian stocks are set to outperform. Sure, the Canadian economy will be lucky to grow 2.3 per cent next year, trailing U.S. growth. But the S&P/TSX composite index is well-levered to the global picture, which is improving. CIBC sees Canadian stocks "playing catch-up to those south of the border." Given that the S&P 500 has led the TSX by 19 percentage points in 2013 (after ignoring currency differences), that suggests a lot of catching up.
6. U.S. economic growth is on the verge of picking up, with less drag from government policy, an ongoing housing recovery and the shale revolution in the oil and gas sector. CIBC expects growth of 3 per cent in each of the next two years.
7. U.S. consumer spending set to rise now that consumers have adjusted to the higher payroll taxes in 2013.
8. More young people will form households, driving up housing starts, home sales and prices.
9. Don't worry about deflation. Yes, inflation is running below the Fed's target of 2 per cent, but costs are creeping higher in most sectors which should drive inflation to 2 per cent by 2015. If so, expect the Fed to start raising its key interest rate by mid-2015.
10. Canadian consumer spending will be soft. Rising real estate prices allowed consumers to feel rich, driving up their debt loads. "With real estate prices likely to track no better than flat, this important dis-saving mechanism will diminish," CIBC said.
(For more market outlooks for 2014, see our page here.)