It’s a bit of a tradition among market commentators to come up with a list of ‘surprises’ for the new year. Some of us like to combine both macro/geopolitical events with market events. I have decided to limit my 6 surprises to market events as that is my area of expertise and the primary focus of my analysis & commentary. While some of the items on my list may not be surprises for some readers, there is no doubt that markets are not currently pricing in any of these events occurring during 2015, and they are far from the consensus view as we enter the new year. So without further ado, 6 surprises for 2015…
1. The euro will fall below $1.10 vs. the US dollar (EUR/USD) as the eurozone sovereign debt crisis flares up again. A QE program from the ECB will only serve to weaken the euro and will have little stimulative effect on growth.
2. The Fed will not hike rates during 2015 AND the yield curve will flatten further with the 5s30s spread (difference between the yield on the 5-year Treasury Note and the 30-year Treasury Bond) falling to 50 basis points. The yield on the 30-year Treasury Bond will fall below 2.50%; the 94 out of 94 economists surveyed by Bloomberg along with 100% of Barron’s Wall Street strategists survey who see long rates rising in the New Year will remain confounded and confused.
3. Oil will both fall below $50/barrel and rise above $80/barrel during 2015. The combination of a clever game of poker being played by OPEC and increasing geopolitical tensions/supply disruptions will lead to a volatile year for black gold.
4. The Nasdaq Composite will post a new nominal all-time high (above 5132) during the 1st half of 2015 only to reverse lower and end the year down by more than 20%. A toxic mix of a dollar that is too strong, disappointing global economic growth, and a renewal of turmoil in the eurozone, will result in a slew of earnings disappointments in 2015 which will lead to a sharp downside reversal in equities during the 2nd half of the year.
5. Utilities (falling long rates and flight to safety) and gold miners (rallying from a low base along with gold performing well despite a strong dollar) will be the best performing equity sectors during 2015 while financials and retailers will be the worst (weak growth and flattening yield curve).
6. Blackberry (BBRY) will manage to take back smartphone market share from Apple and Android with its Classic and Passport offerings, and the company will manage to staunch its blood loss in the enterprise segment (exceed market expectations for market share retention). Moreover Blackberry will become “cool” again with its Boeing smartphone and other offerings that are yet to be announced. This will all result in a return to profitability for Blackberry and a tripling of BBRY shares during 2015!!