Ed Yardeni Says Earnings-Led Stock ‘Melt-Up’ Has Staying Power

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Ed Yardeni Says Earnings-Led Stock ‘Melt-Up’ Has Staying Power
Credit: © Reuters.

(Bloomberg) -- Ed Yardeni has good news on Federal Reserve taper day: The stock melt-up will continue in earnest thanks to the earnings firepower of Corporate America. 

The president of Yardeni Research Inc. says a profit boom will power the S&P 500 to 4,800 by the end of the year -- an upside of 3.6% versus the Tuesday close -- and to 5,200 by the end of 2022. 

With the U.S central bank all-but-certain to announce a $15 billion reduction in the monthly pace of asset purchases Wednesday, Yardeni is taking to task bull-market doubters who see record stock prices as nothing other than the result of valuations surging on policy stimulus.

He cites the S&P 500’s forward earnings, which bottomed in May 2020 and has soared 54.2% by the end of this October. Tellingly, operating earnings per share jumped to $52.38 last week, an increase of 6.7% since the start of the season.

“An earnings-led bull market is much better than a P/E-led bull market,” strategists led by Yardeni wrote in the Wednesday note. “The former is less prone to selloffs and corrections because it is supported by fundamentally strong earnings.”

The Nasdaq 100 , S&P 500, Dow Jones Industrial Average and Russell 2000 all closed at record highs on Tuesday, shrugging off turbulent bond markets signaling rate hikes will be faster than initially anticipated and potentially damaging to economic growth. 

Wall Street bulls argue the stock rally looks perfectly justified thanks to the canny propensity of American firms to deliver upside surprises on profit growth, defying all manner of economic disruptions. 

“Despite lots of reasons to worry about rising costs as well as parts and labor shortages, forward guidance, on balance, boosted consensus earnings expectations for Q4 and for the four quarters of next year,” according to the Yardeni note. “That’s clearly remarkable under the circumstances!”

Some of Yardeni’s forecasts:

  • Forward earnings per share will be end up this year at $220 (up from $217 currently) and rise to $235 at the end of 2022 and $250 at the end of 2023
  • The S&P 500 is set to end 2021 at 4,800, 2022 at 5,200, and 2023 at 5,500
  • The forward P/E will remain high around its current level amid an earnings-driven rally

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