As with the beginning of every new year, market predictions are coming hard and fast.
On Monday, I highlighted the top stock picks from M Partners, and looked back on how their previous year's picks fared. Today I'll do the same thing with the technical analysts at Phases & Cycles.
This time last year, analysts Ron Meisels and David Tippin predicted a significant first-quarter correction for the S&P 500, but added that it was unlikely to put an end to the overall bull market.
"We expect that a corrective period – perhaps choppy and more damaging in terms of time than price – could see the S&P 500 re-visit the mid-1,700s in the next few months," the analysts wrote. "Only a break below 1,650 would disrupt the overall bullish picture."
So were they right? As it turns out, they were off in terms of timing, but the overall pattern came to pass. The S&P 500 climbed to a high of around 2,015 in late September before diving down to a bottom of 1,825 by mid-October, a dip of roughly 9.5 per cent. The market promptly bounced back to new highs, and the bull market continued.
Messrs. Tippin and Meisels were less successful regarding their outlook on the TSX. Their prediction of a spring bull run – led by bank and energy stocks – was roughly correct, but their target of 16,500 never came to pass. The TSX topped out at 15,700 and has been stuck in correction territory ever since.
So what are the analysts saying about 2015? They foresee increasing volatility, but expect the overall bull market to continue. In New York, the "big picture" technicals remain in place: mainly, rising 200-day moving averages and higher highs and higher lows.
"The key issue for New York will be the sustainability of moves to new highs," the analysts explain. "Investors should be alert to 'false breakouts' that reverse quickly, in both market indices and individual stocks."
For the TSX, the analysts say it mainly comes down to a single indicator.
"The Energy and Gold sectors, which traditionally provide late bull strength, appear to have topped out early. But the critical issue for Toronto in 2015 will be whether the S&P/TSX Composite Index can get above and stay above its 200-day Moving Average."
You can read the entire Phases & Cycles report here.