One year ago, as part of its one-year forward forecast issue, the ten "experts" polled by Barrons in its one year forward forecast, predicted that the S&P would close at an average of 2209.
Instead, with just 13 trading days to go in the year, the S&P is down just over 2% for the year.
No wonder the name of that particular Barron's article was "Stick With the Bull", although we doubt Barrons meant it in the more accurate in retrospect, "secondary" meaning of the phrase.
Fast forward to this weekend, when the same ten experts unanimously agree that while they may all have been wrong about 2015 (barring some last minute miracle in which the S&P soars by 200 points in the next two weeks), it is only far to double down on 2016, and they all expect the S&P500 to not only rise, but do so with style, hitting an average of 2220 on December 31, 2016 (at least there was no reference to male bovine excrement in this year's title which was the far more muted "Stocks Have Room to Rise 10% in 2016, Market Strategists Say")
This is what Barron's says:
Based on their mean forecast, the Standard & Poor’s 500 index will end next year at 2220, an increase of 10% from Friday’s close of 2012. An advance of that magnitude is more reflective of the market’s rout last week, however, than undue exuberance among our prognosticators. To the contrary, the strategists were more cautious in their comments than in recent years past.
Actually, not really: only two "strategists" lowered their year end target for 2016 compared to 2015, as just Adam Parker and Dubravko Lakos-Bujas now see a "more cautious" 2016 (cutting their forecasts from 2275 to 2175 and 2250 to 2200, respectively). At the same time Chris Auth, eager to overcompensate for being wrong, has taken his year end forecast from 2350 to 2500, while Glionna and Koesterich both expect the S&P to be higher than their expectations for 2015. 5 "experts" are unchanged in their forecasts from a year ago.
however, not even Barrons' can avoid to be sarcastic with the panel's performance:
Any advance would be superior to this year’s 2.3% loss (through Dec. 11). A year ago, the pros predicted stocks would rally 10% in 2015; that target seems far-fetched today, with just 13 trading days left in the year.
There is more in the forecast but it is all very much worthless, because far from actually attempting to predict the future correctly, what these "prediction calls" are merely an exercise in setting the echo chamber, and making sure that everyone is on the same page. After all if everyone is wrong, it is the same as if nobody is wrong: just one outlier would make the entire panel of "experts" look idiotic.
And speaking of idiotic forecasts, we can't help but laugh at Barron's 2007 year end prediction "A Bullish Call" laying out where all these same (and some different) "experts" predicted the market would close.
Come to think of it, back then both Lehman's Ian Scott and Bear's Jonathan Golub were both really bullish. We wonder why they no longer grace Barron's "expert" roundtable?