BofA's 10 reasons to buy the dip

March 16, 2011: 10:24 AM ET

Even stock market bulls are feeling a little cowed by the events in Japan – though not to the point where they are pulling in their horns.

One of the loudest voices for a stock market rally, David Bianco of Bank of America Merrill Lynch, trimmed the low end of his expected first-half trading range for the S&P 500, saying the catastrophe in Japan raises the chances U.S. companies won't hit their earnings estimates.

The wall of not worried

Bianco now expects the S&P, recently up 1.6% for the year at 1,278, to trade between 1,250 and 1,400 this year. He previously put the big-cap stock index's low point for 2011 at 1,275.

Bianco said the quake, tsunami and nuclear disaster in Japan – which so far have claimed more than 3,300 lives with more than 7,000 people missing – "has tilted the balance from upside to downside risks to our EPS outlook."

Nonetheless he held his S&P 500 earnings forecast at $95 for 2011 and $102 for 2012. And in true bull form, he trotted out 10 reasons to buy the latest dip:

  1. The Fed is still easy
  2. Earnings still haven't peaked
  3. Sentiment is bearish
  4. Oil shock risks are receding
  5. U.S. rate shock risk is lower
  6. ECB tightening should keep euro strong
  7. Tech supply chain problems are overstated
  8. The long-term energy picture is brighter
  9. Overseas risk may keep more money in the U.S.
  10. Bond issuance will remain strong

He adds that his year-end forecast of S&P 1,400 – which would represent a 9.5% rise from current levels – "reflects the possibility of tail risks." Which is reassuring, because 2011 is looking like a year in which we'll be seeing more of those.

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