Did we say “overweight”?
Goldman Sachs made a rather large U-turn on Monday, reversing its May recommendation to overweight the S&P 500′s consumer stocks and take a neutral position in the index’s financial stocks.
It was costly advice for those clients who took it : financial stocks are down 18 percent since Goldman’s initial call, and consumer stocks have dipped 7 percent, while the overall index has slipped a mere 5 percent.
“Obviously that forecast hasn’t turned out too well,” Goldman analysts led by David Kostin wrote in a note, providing a contender for understatement of the year. “Our thesis was clearly wrong in hindsight.”
The investment bank’s new recommendations are to underweight both sectors — 7 percent for “consumer discretionary” stocks, compared with an S&P 500 weight of 8.4 percent, and 13 percent for financial stocks, versus 15.1 percent in the S&P 500. Financial stocks have been so battered this year that they are now only the third-biggest component of the index, having been superseded by information technology stocks.
That weighting harkens to the late 90′s dotcom bubble, when Kostin’s predecessor Abby Joseph Cohen was running the shop. Looks like Kostin is finding it difficult to fill the shoes of the “Queen of the Bulls.”