Tags: Zirin | S&P | 1540 | dividend

UBS’ Zirin: S&P 500 Will Rise to 1,540 in 2013

By Bill Hoffmann   |   Thursday, 03 Jan 2013 08:13 AM

The stock market will post moderate gains this year and keep rising as the nation’s economy brightens, Jeremy Zirin, chief equity strategist at UBS Wealth Management, predicts.

Zirin forecast gross domestic product growth of 2 percent to 2.5 percent for 2013.

And that growth will speed up as new fiscal policies are put in place by Washington lawmakers, Zirin told Yahoo.

Economist Predicts 'Unthinkable' for 2013

“[The market] will continue to grind higher as the economy starts to improve,’’ he said.

The economy is already showing signs of improvement, as the four-week moving average for initial unemployment claims has plummeted to its lowest level since March 2008 and housing prices and new home sales recently made their biggest gains in 30 months.

Zirin predicts a 1,540 rolling 12-month target for the Standard & Poor’s 500 in 2013, which he bases on a “fairly robust” earnings growth and relatively low equity valuations.

“For investors looking to preserve purchasing power down the road, equity markets … still look very attractive,” Zirin told Yahoo.

“The spread between the earnings yield of equities — the inverse of the price earnings multiple — of around 6 percent to 7 percent and the very low or negative real yield of fixed-income securities is at the widest it’s been in two decades.”

Zirin favors dividend growth stocks because their overall market risk remains lower than other stocks.

Dividend growth stocks also generate income and have more potential for dividend growth than do high-yield dividend stocks, he said.

As far as which sectors hold the best dividend growth stocks, Zirin points to equities in consumer staples, industrials, healthcare and technology.

“Lots of established mature tech stocks have tremendously strong balance sheets with tons of cash,” he said.

Tom Hutchinson, editor of Newsmax’s advisory service The High Income Factor, likes dividend stocks too because they offer investors comparatively attractive yields amid today’s rock-bottom interest rates, especially relative to CDs, Treasury instruments and other fixed-income venues popular among those seeking income from their investments.

“The yields are paying, relative to what you are getting on Treasurys and CDs, very high,” Hutchinson told Newsmax TV in an exclusive interview.

Video: Economist Predicts 'Unthinkable' for 2013

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