Market Strategist Jeff Saut Thinks March 2009 Lows Will Hold ~ market folly

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Market Strategist Jeff Saut Thinks March 2009 Lows Will Hold

The Chief Investment Strategist at Raymond James is out with his latest market commentary and there are a few bold assertions in it. Jeff Saut is of the belief that the market will be in a very wide trading range akin to the period between 1966-1982; a period where swings of more than 20% occurred 13 times with an end result of hardly any progress. He also bluntly calls for the March 2009 lows to hold. In a past commentary, he also advocated buying on weakness. But if you think about it, he's not exactly taking a huge leap of faith here considering that the S&P is currently around 1,082 and the March lows are way down around 666 on the S&P. Even if those levels were to hold, that's still over a 38% drop to get there.

So, how has the market strategist positioned his portfolio? Saut remains ardent in his stance that buying high quality dividend paying stocks is the way to go. Numerous market participants agree. Jeremy Grantham favors high quality and hedge fund T2 Partners is bullish on undervalued large-caps, just to name a few.

Additionally, Saut notes that, "The earnings yield (E/P) on the S&P 500 is currently 6.6%, which is the highest in 15 years, while the spread beween the earnings yield and the 30-year Treasury Bond is the widest in 30 years." As such, he feels that risk adjusted stock selection is the key to portfolio success currently and he tosses out some stocks for your consideration.

The companies on his list have the following attributes: a market cap greater than $5 billion, a return on equity greater than 15%, a dividend yield greater than 2%, a debt-to-assets ratio of less than 35%, and a price-to-earnings ratio of less than 15. Here are the stocks that made the cut:

Exxon Mobil (XOM)
Walmart (WMT)
Johnson & Johnson (JNJ)
Intel (INTC)
Abbott Labs (ABT)
Aflac (AFL)
Chubb (CB)
Diamond Offshore (DO)
Darden (DRI)

Lastly, turning to the inflation versus deflation debate, Saut highlights that except for the 1930s, deflation has been a bad bet. In fact, Saut isn't buying into the current hype surrounding deflation and has actually planted himself in the inflationary camp. He feels that the economic recovery will surely be slow, but a double-dip won't come to fruition. Following this recovery, he believes inflation is the likely scenario given the government's policy of trying to stimulate an economic response. And since Saut has declared himself a staunch inflationista, be sure to check out the best investments for inflation. And if you disagree, conversely head to the best investments during deflation.

Embedded below is Jeff Saut's latest investment strategy from Raymond James:

You can download a .pdf copy here.

For more from the market strategist, you can check out Jeff Saut's businessman's risk portfolio as well as his assertion that it's time to re-balance portfolios.

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