Goldman Says Weak Profits To Doom Bull Market

FILE - In this Monday, March 9, 2020 file photo, people stop to look at the New York Stock Exchange. Stocks are opening sharply lower on Wall Street Wednesday as fears of economic fallout from the coronavirus outbreak grip markets again. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File)

NEW YORK (AP) – Analysts at Goldman Sachs predict the longest-ever bull market for stocks will soon end, citing expectations of weaker company profits this year.

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The analysts lowered their 2020 earnings forecast for S&P 500 companies Wednesday for the second time in less than two weeks.

They now expect profits will be down 5% from 2019. The analysts believe the sharp slide in oil prices and interest rates will hinder profit growth for energy companies and banks. The price of U.S. benchmark oil is down 45% so far this year, while the yield on the 10-year Treasury has dropped to around 0.8% percent from 1.9% at the start of 2020.

Goldman notes that companies in other sectors are also likely to report weaker profits this year. Many companies, such as Hilton and United Airlines, have already lowered or withdrawn their 2020 earnings guidance.

The analysts’ forecast calls for the S&P 500 to be at 2,450 points by midyear, which would mark a 28% decline from the peak in February. At 11:30 a.m. EST Wednesday, the index was down 3.8% to 2,771 amid volatile trading on Wall Street. The current bull market began in March 2009.

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