2018 Bull Market All About the Earnings, Analyst Says

August 20, 2018

By Michael Teich

U.S. stocks are just days away from recording their longest bull run in history, with Monday's gains putting the S&P 325 percent above its lows during the financial crisis.

And while M&A provided the latest market boost, JPMorgan ETF's global market strategist Samantha Azzarello said long-term stock appreciation will be buoyed by strong corporate earnings for the rest of the year.

"Really what's been supporting the market this year is earnings growth to the tune of 22 percent. This has really been an earnings story for 2018," Azzarello said Monday in an interview on Cheddar.

Azzarello added the earnings growth will continue to be fueled by last year's tax cuts.

Stocks got a boost early Monday on the news that Pepsi is acquiring SodaStream for $3.2 billion and Tyson Foods is snapping up Keystone Foods for $2.16 billion.

And unless there's a major turn around in the coming days, the current bull market will turn 3,453 days old on Wednesday, surpassing its old record ー October 1990 thru March 2000 ー by one day. Still its gains over that period do still lag the 417 percent returns notched during the dotcom boom.

Still, while recent geopolitical tensions with Turkey have weighed on stocks this month, Azzarello said investors may be overreacting to the headlines.

"They'll calm down," she said. "The main thing has been on European banks. But you look at that, and European bank exposure to Turkey is less than 4 percent ー that's the highest for Spain, and it's less for 2 percent for the rest. The main part of the market that should be impacted really isn't that much."

But the real focus for the markets should lie elsewhere, said Azzarello.

"We've been looking at Chinese tech. That's larger than Turkey's impact on all of this. The market's a bit misguided."

Shares of high-fliers like Alibaba, Baidu, and Tencent are all down 15 percent or more since their highs of the year.

For full interview click here.