JPMorgan Sees Risk of ‘Modest’ Stock Drop But Don’t Go Defensive
A person on a scooter rides past a JPMorgan Chase & Co. bank branch in New York, U.S., (Photographer: Jeenah Moon/Bloomberg)

JPMorgan Sees Risk of ‘Modest’ Stock Drop But Don’t Go Defensive

There’s a risk of a modest equity-market correction in the next couple of weeks if economic data miss expectations, according to JPMorgan Chase & Co.

A large stock-market tumble is unlikely given pent-up demand and an assumption that further fiscal relief will eventually pass Congress, keeping the economy “well above trend,” strategists including John Normand wrote in a note Friday. However, there are moderate risks from payrolls and retail sales data undershooting expectations in the early part of the month, they warned.

“Some misgivings are justified given a macro backdrop that is becoming muddied, but not muddied enough to justify bearish targets or a defensive investment strategy,” the strategists wrote. “The intersection of a U.S. growth downshift with expiring income supports preserves the risk of a market correction in August, but drawdown should be limited due to investor positioning.”

JPMorgan Sees Risk of ‘Modest’ Stock Drop But Don’t Go Defensive

The S&P 500 has risen 46% from its March low on the back of unprecedented fiscal and monetary stimulus to combat the impact of Covid-19. As the benchmark climbed, numerous market watchers have warned that a pullback is likely, and corporate insiders have started to sell stocks.

Normand -- who not long after the March trough said that the worst was likely over -- maintains that conditions aren’t in place for much of a drawdown right now.

“A large correction (about 10%) would be tough to generate when positioning measures in equities are below average for most hedge funds” as well as for balanced bond/equity mutual funds,” the JPMorgan strategists said.

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