You read that title right.
The S&P will double.
And not just eventually. But over the next 5 years (or sooner).
Sounds like a Herculean task on the surface, but it's really not.
In fact, the market only needs to gain on average of 14.9% per year in order to do so. That's not such a stretch given the market has been averaging 14.9% per year since this bull market began in early 2009, even though GDP (prior to last year) has only been increasing at an anemic 1.48% annual rate.
My 5 year doubling thesis also means that we won't see another recession until stocks double again, nor will we see another bear market until stocks double again.
Now let me tell you why. And how to trade it.
Boom and Bust Cycle
We are all familiar with the typical 5 year boom and bust cycle of economic expansion and contraction.
In the past, following a recession, the economy would grow by over 3-4% annual GDP, and a new bull market would begin. As the recovery would take hold, gains would accelerate, and excesses would get built up in the economy.
With that, inflation would rise, thereby prompting the Fed into a series of interest rate hikes to cool things down.
Ultimately, the economy would slow, then fall into contraction, and a recession (along with a bear market) would ensue.
Excesses are wrung out, inflation subsides, and the economy is eventually reset.
Growth reemerges, and the whole boom and bust cycle repeats itself once again.
More . . .
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Things Changed After the Recession of 2007-2009
When the economic recovery (and stock market recovery) began in March of 2009, GDP grew at an abnormally slower pace.
This prompted the now famous 'new normal' line that characterized this post-recession recovery.
Hearing this, I hypothesized that the traditional 5 year boom and bust cycle would be replaced with something far different.
Since we were growing at a significantly slower pace, I concluded that the 'boom' cycle would be elongated to 7-10 years, while the following 'bust' cycle would be shallower in depth and shorter in duration, given that there would be fewer excesses or inflation to wring out.
And I think this theory has played out perfectly so far.
The current boom cycle has been going on for 9.3 years. And in that time, the S&P has gained more than 316% from its low on March 6th, 2009 to its close on June 8th, 2018.
Theory had become fact.
Transformational Growth That Will Double the S&P
It's no secret that the market has been reenergized on the Trump administration's pro-growth agenda, which, of course, includes the historical corporate tax cuts.
That has reduced corporate taxes from a 35% rate down to 21%.
That now puts corporate taxes at the lowest level in 69 years, going all the way back to 1949.
Moreover, the tax cut plan also includes incentives for companies to repatriate accumulated profits from overseas (estimated at more than $2.5 trillion) with an even lower tax rate. (In fact, Apple, just a few months ago, announced it will repatriate $250 billion in overseas cash back to the US.)
And what will businesses do with all of those profits?
There's no doubt some of that will go to stock buybacks. And employee bonuses as we've already seen. But with the US suddenly becoming one of the most business friendly countries in the world, you will also see massive new corporate investment.
This includes relocating foreign operations back to US soil; building new plants to expand; and the purchase of new equipment and technology to see it all through.
All of this economic activity means more new jobs. And with more jobs comes a stronger consumer, which means more consumer spending. That, of course, is good for business, and the whole virtuous circle is reinforced.
These tax cuts alone are expected to usher in decades of new prosperity.
And it should be noted that these aren't one-time stimulus packages that provide only temporary incentives and modest economic benefits.
We're talking about transformational growth due to long-term structural changes in how companies do business in America.
Subpar to Supercharged
Instead of the subpar 1.5% annual GDP that the market had been struggling to achieve since the beginning of this bull market, the economy is now expected to double that pace to 3-4%. In fact, at the end of last year, GDP was pacing at an annual rate of nearly 3%. And many are now predicting GDP growth at over 4% as the benefits of the tax cuts begin to be realized.
But even with the weaker than normal economic pace prior to the recent boom, the market in just the last 5 years has produced a total compounded return of over 126%.
So it's not hard to imagine that if GDP were to double, or more (and it already nearly has), earnings would soar, and stocks could easily gain another 100% over the next 5 years, and likely a whole lot more!
And let's not forget the other pro-growth benefits from slashing onerous regulations that have stifled business, a significant increase in the military budget, not to mention the individual tax cuts that are also part of the tax cut plan.
Quite frankly, given all of the above, I think the gains could be far more reaching.
And that makes the prediction of doubling the stock market a very doable thing.
As mentioned earlier, the current 9.3 year bull market, which has already gained more than 316%, is now the second longest bull market in history.
What's the longest?
Between December 1987 and March 2000, the market rallied for 12.3 years, gaining 582% along the way.
We're only 3 years away from surpassing that. And I think we most certainly will.
Positioning Yourself for Record Gains
The best way to maximize your returns, not only for this year, but for the next 5 years and beyond, is to focus on proven, profitable strategies.
You want to be sure you have the highest probability of success to capitalize on what could become the most dynamic part of this record bull market.
By concentrating on what has proven to work in the past, you'll have a better idea as to what your probability of success will be now and in the future.
For example, stocks with a Zacks Rank #1 Strong Buy have beaten the market in 24 of the last 29 years with an average annual return of more than 25%. That's more than two times the S&P. But when doing this year after year, that can add up to a lot more than just two times the returns.
But with over 200 stocks assigned a Zacks Rank #1 at any given time, you still need a way to get that list down to the best 5-10 stocks that you can buy.
Here are a few of my favorite strategies that performed spectacularly well last year, are easy to trade, and are poised for big gains again this year.
Filtered Zacks Rank 5: This strategy leverages the Zacks Rank #1 Strong Buys, and adds two time-tested filters to narrow the list of stocks down to five high probability picks each week. Over the last 18 years (2000 thru 2017), using a 1-week rebalance, the average annual return has been 57.4% vs. the S&P's 5.1%. And in 2017 alone, it was up 98.6% (more than 4.5 x the market).
New Highs: Studies have shown that stocks making new highs have a tendency of making even higher highs. And this strategy proves it. The alignment of positive price action and strong fundamentals creates all the necessary conditions to see these stocks soar to even greater heights. Over the last 18 years (2000 thru 2017), using a 1-week rebalance the average annual return has been 51.4%. And it was up a whopping 106.5% in 2017 (more than 4.8 x the market's returns).
Small-Cap Growth: Small-caps have historically outperformed the market time and time again. Often these are newer companies in the early part of their growth cycle, which is when they grow the fastest. This strategy combines the aggressive growth of small-caps with our special blend of growth and valuation metrics for explosive returns. Over the last 18 years (2000 thru 2017), using a 1-week rebalance, the average annual return has been 63.3%. And it was up another market-beating 98.1% in 2017 (more than 4.4 x the market).
Roadmap to Success
Given the performance of the strategies above, the market may not even need to double in order to double your returns. And we probably don't even need five years.
But there's no doubt we are in the midst of history being made. And with it should come historic returns.
As you can see, there's a clear roadmap to success to help you double your stock returns. No need to reinvent the wheel. The path has already been created. Now it's just about doing it.
And just like anything, it only requires a few simple steps to get the ball rolling.
Where to Start
There's a shortcut for adding a big performance advantage to your stock-picking success. It's called the Zacks Method for Trading: Home Study Course.
With this fun, interactive online program, you can master the Zacks Rank system without attending a single class or seminar. Do it in your own home at your own pace. It covers the investment ideas I just shared and guides you to better trading step by step.
You'll quickly see how to get the most out of the system that, over the past 30 years, has more than doubled the S&P 500's average yearly return. Discover how to identify what kind of trader you are, how to find stocks with the highest probability of success, and how to trade them so you can consistently beat the market regardless of where stock prices are headed.
The course also lets you access the latest picks from some of our best strategies. In 2017, they beat the booming +21.9% market with gains up to +98.6%, +104.9%, +109.3%, and +115%.
Today is the perfect time to get in. I'm giving participants free hardbound copies of my book, Finding #1 Stocks, a $49.95 value. Its 300 pages unfold virtually every trading secret for beating the market that I know and have learned over the last 25 years.
Please note: Many of your fellow Zacks members have already claimed the book and copies are limited. Your opportunity to get one free ends no later than midnight Sunday, June 10. So if you're interested, be sure to check this out right now.
Find out more about the Zacks Home Study Course and Finding #1 Stocks >>
Thanks and good trading,
Zacks Executive VP Kevin Matras is responsible for all our trading and investing services. He developed many of our most powerful market-beating strategies and directs the Zacks Method for Trading: Home Study Course.