Sean Darby is the chief global equity strategist at Jefferies, a global investment bank and financial services company. He is known for his bullish views on the U.S. stock market, as well as his insights on the Asian and emerging markets.

Here are some of his main points he believes that the U.S. is a much cleaner story for investors than other regions, as it has a strong consumer base, a resilient corporate sector, and a supportive fiscal and monetary policy. He expects the U.S. economy to grow by 4.5% in 2024, and the S&P 500 to reach 5,000 by the end of the year, implying a 12% upside from the current level. He thinks that the Fed is done with hiking rates, and that the next move will be a cut, signaling a victory over inflation. He also predicts that the 10-year Treasury yield will fall to 1.5% by the end of 2024.

He is optimistic about the prospects of global equities, especially in Japan, India, and China. He sees Japan as a beneficiary of the global recovery, India as a domestic growth story, and China as a value play with attractive valuations. He advises investors to diversify their portfolios across regions and sectors, and to focus on quality, growth, and innovation. He likes technology, health care, consumer discretionary, and industrials as the best performing sectors in 2024.

Sean Darby has been accurate in some of his previous calls, such as:- He correctly predicted that the U.S. stock market would rebound strongly in 2023, after a sharp correction in late 2022 due to the Omicron variant and the Fed’s tapering. He correctly anticipated that the U.S. dollar would weaken in 2023, as the Fed’s policy stance became more dovish and the fiscal stimulus boosted the trade deficit. He correctly foresaw that the emerging markets would outperform the developed markets in 2023.

Sean Darby’s Top Market Picks and Predictions

  • Predicted the strong outperformance of FAANG stocks in 2016-2018, recommending investors overweight positions in Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix and Google. His early call on the huge growth potential of these tech giants generated massive returns for clients.
  • Anticipated the sharp decline in oil prices in late 2014, advising energy investors to reduce exposure to oil/gas stocks. This saved clients from substantial losses as the oil market crashed.
  • Foresaw the recovery in financial stocks coming out of the 2008-2009 financial crisis. Sean recommended buying beaten down banks in 2009, which went on to rally tremendously over the next 5+ years.
  • Cautioned investors to avoid overvalued dot-com stocks in the late 1990s tech bubble. His level-headed stock analysis prevented clients from losing big when the bubble burst.
  • Identified Latin America and emerging Asia as high-growth markets in the mid-2000s. Investors made huge gains from his early calls to increase allocations to these regions.
  • Published timely reports warning of broader market risk prior to major selloffs in 2010 and 2018. Sean’s macro analysis helped investors hedge portfolios ahead of volatility.
  • Demonstrated his stock-picking skill with a series of successful calls on leading stocks like Apple, Amazon, Netflix, Nvidia, Google, Facebook, Alibaba, and Tencent over the years.
  • Built a reputation for making insightful calls on market rotations between growth/value stocks and market leadership trends.

Sean Darby’s 2024 Equity Market Outlook

After a strong performance in 2021 and 2022, Sean expects equities to continue posting solid gains in 2024, although likely at a more moderate pace.

His base case projection is for the S&P 500 to rise approximately 8-10% in 2024. This outlook is based on expectations for steady economic growth, rising corporate profits and some expansion in P/E multiples from current levels.

However, he sees plenty of risks that could lead to higher volatility and potential pullbacks in 2024. His top macro concerns include ongoing supply chain disruption, high inflation that may be more persistent than anticipated, an aggressive Fed hiking cycle, global geopolitical tensions.

And recommends investors overweight equities relative to bonds, but take a more selective approach focused on quality names with strong cash flows and competitive advantages. His favored sectors include financials, healthcare, technology and certain consumer discretionary stocks with pricing power.

Geographically, Sean is bullish on further gains from the APAC region and more muted returns from US large caps. He advises caution on European equities given economic headwinds. Within emerging markets, he prefers Asia over Latin America.

In summary, Sean sees upside for stocks in 2024 but believes investors should temper expectations compared to the bull market of recent years. His strategy calls for selective investing, geographic diversification and maintaining an active yet disciplined approach to taking profits on standout performers. Risk management will be key in Sean’s view.

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