Market strategist: Stocks to be more volatile in 2014 but should gain again this year

Market strategist: Stocks to be more volatile in 2014 but should gain again this year

April 15th, 2014 by Dave Flessner in Business Around the Region

IF YOU GO

• Bob Doll is the featured speaker at this year's Chattanooga Area Leadership Prayer Breakfast, scheduled from 7 a.m. to 8:45 a.m. Tuesday, May 6 at the Chattanooga Convention Center. Call 423-698-0100 for ticket information.

Bob Doll

Photo by Contributed Photo/Times Free Press.

Investors should expect more volatility and lesser returns this year than they enjoyed last year, but investing in stocks should still pay off again this year, market strategist Bob Doll says.

The rebound Monday in the stock market, which added 146.49 points, or 0.9 percent, to the Dow Jones Industrials on Monday, offset losses last week and reflects the increased trends of ups and downs in the market, Doll said.

"Stock markets are very volatile and I think we'll continue to see that, but I still think we'll end the year up with good returns for most investors," said Doll, the chief equity strategist for Nuveen Asset Management. "Last year was very abnormal, not only in the amount of the gain, but in the limited volatility."

Doll will be the featured speaker on May 6 at the Chattanooga Area Leadership Prayer Breakfast, the annual event that draws more than 2,000 guests to pray and promote their faith at the Chattanooga Convention Center. Doll is a frequent speaker at both investment and faith conferences, and insists both religion and money are vital.

"We're stewards of the things that God has entrusted with us and being good stewards is a high calling and responsibility and therefore we have to care about things like markets and portfolios," Doll said in an interview from his New York office. "But we should also have the perspective that that is very temporal and will all go up in smoke some day. That's how I try to bring the two together."

Doll concedes there are some on Wall Street who are bad actors or excessively greedy "just like in all professions."

"I've been in this business for 35 years and the vast majority of people in this business are trying to do the right thing for their clients, their employer, their business and their family," he said. "But there are those few who take advantage of the system and spoil it for the rest of us."

Doll concedes that Michael Lewis' new book highlighting the problems of high-frequency trading "is a negative and is part of the market that needs to improve. But those problems are less than the problems used to be when, instead of fractions of a penny, it could have been an eighth or a quarter of a share (to make trades)."

"Market structures are not perfect, but I think things are better than they used to be," he said.

Doll's own company, the Chicago-bases Nuveen Investments, agreed Monday to sell to TIAA-CREF plans for $6.25 billion. Nuveen has $221 billion in assets under management, managed with the advice of investors like Doll.

The 1.3 percent gain in stocks in the first quarter, if multiplied by four and added with the average 2 percent dividend rate, would provide a yield of more than 7 percent for stocks in 2014 on top of the 26.5 percent gain for the Dow last year.

The economy that grew at a modest 1.5 percent pace in the first quarter should accelerate to 3 percent through the balance of the year.

Contact Dave Flessner at dflessner@timesfreepress.com or at 757-6340.