Bloomberg News

Birinyi Sees 15% Stocks Gain as Google Sets the Tone: Tom Keene

July 11, 2011

July 11 (Bloomberg) -- Stocks will rise 15 percent over the next year, in part because investors are able to look past the European debt crisis and a U.S. unemployment rate stuck over 9 percent, Laszlo Birinyi said.

“Yes, we are aware that there are economic issues, there are concerns and fears, but somehow to say that is to say the market doesn’t know that. But the market does,” Birinyi said today. “What I worry about are situations that the market doesn’t understand,” he said. “Things like Greece and employment and so forth, these are well within the scope of the market to understand and discount.”

Alcoa Inc. will start earnings season today. While Standard & Poor’s 500 Index companies are poised to report the smallest quarterly earnings increase since the equity bull market began in 2009, growth for the measure is climbing back to its average since the 1960s as valuations are stuck near credit-crisis levels. David Kelly, who helps oversee about $445 billion as chief market strategist for JPMorgan Funds, says that means stock investors are buying an “undervalued asset.”

The S&P 500 fell 7.2 percent between April 29 and June 15 amid concern the European debt crisis will curb global growth.

“Greece, for example, has been with us for over a year,” said Birinyi, the president and founder of Westport, Connecticut-based research and money management firm Birinyi Associates Inc. “If you listen to and sort of dissect the negative concerns, they’re pretty much unchanged. One is that earnings will not come through this quarter. Well, we’ve heard that every quarter.”

Setting the Tone

Alcoa, based in New York, will report a 169 percent surge in second-quarter net income, according to the average analyst estimate in a Bloomberg survey.

Google Inc. will “set the tone” for earnings season when it releases its second-quarter report on July 14, Birinyi said. The operator of the world’s largest search engine will post 22 percent growth in net income, according to the average forecast in a Bloomberg survey.

Google, based in Mountain View, California, has “been such a significant stock in most people’s portfolios that that could really set the tone for how the portfolio does,” he said.

David Bianco, chief U.S. equity strategist for Charlotte, North Carolina-based Bank of America Corp., agreed that Alcoa may not be the best proxy for earnings season, speaking in a separate interview today.

“Once we get past the banks into the non-financials, which is really next week and the week after that, I think earnings season is going to be very impressive,” Bianco said. “Analysts’ estimates for the non-financials are going to be beat handsomely by about 5 percent.”

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--With assistance from Ken Prewitt, Lu Wang and Rita Nazareth in New York. Editors: Joanna Ossinger, Nick Baker

To contact the reporter on this story: Victoria Stilwell in New York at vstilwell@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Nick Baker at nbaker7@bloomberg.net


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