Citi says ten-year bull market 'old, but not dead'

LONDON (Reuters) - Citi says it is too early to call the end of the current 10-year bull market and expects global equities to rise by another 9% by the end of 2020, although it warns the threat of recession is the biggest risk facing markets.

Citi’s outlook, entitled “Bull Market: Old, But Not Dead” and released on Thursday, comes after global stock markets took a beating this week amid signs of a slowdown in U.S. economic growth and as weak earnings fan fears that trade tensions could push the global economy into a recession.

Equities have lost more than $1.2 trillion in market value so far this week, according to Refinitiv DataStream.

Citi equity strategists, however, say they expect central banks will continue to respond to slowing economies in 2020, as they have done this year, and U.S. equities will lead the way higher as a result.

They acknowledge the risk of earnings downgrades, saying growth estimates of 10% by several analysts and strategists are too high.

“Downgrades are unhelpful, although not fatal for stock markets,” Citi equity strategists said, adding that Europe and emerging markets were “most vulnerable” to downgrades.

“Since 1989, analysts’ first global EPS (earnings per share) forecast has been too high ..., but in 15 of those (21 years, including 2019) global equities still rose.”

Reporting by Thyagaraju Adinarayan; editing by Josephine Mason and Susan Fenton