Rally’s next big risk is earnings ‘grinding to a halt:’ Blackstone

Long-time bull Joseph Zidle sees 2019’s historic rally running into a major roadblock: disappointing earnings.

With about a month left in the quarter, the Blackstone chief investment strategist warns the first-quarter numbers will likely fire up wild market swings.

“Earnings growth is grinding to a halt,” he said Tuesday on CNBC’s “Futures Now.” “Once the sentiment from trade and everything else starts to pull back a little bit or ebb, I think we’re going to run into this earnings headwind.”

JPMorgan Chase kicks off first-quarter earnings season on April 12. It’s the first Dow component to report quarterly results.

“People are going to start focusing on first-quarter earnings soon, and what they’re going to realize is that we’re slated to see earnings decline by about 2.7 percent year over year,” said Zidle. “That’s going to end up kind of causing the market to pause from here.”

Zidle would use the turbulence generated by weaker earnings to pick up cyclical names.

“That’s things like technology, industrials and materials and energy,” he said. “Even though the markets come a long way from the December lows, they’re still relatively attractive, and their P/Es [price earnings ratios] are still below the September highs.”

His S&P 500 year-end target is 2,875 — just 3 percent higher than current levels.

“We might have seen most of the gains for 2019, but I think we’re a long way away from saying that this is the end of the bull market,” Zidle said. “Over the course of one economic cycle, you get many, many profit cycles. You get many more up and downs in corporate profits, and I don’t think this economic cycle is going to end any time soon.”

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