Why 2015 could be nice for large-cap stocks



The theme for stocks in 2014 has been “go big or go home.” And that could give investors a clue on how to invest in 2015.

So far this year, large-cap indexes have been chugging along quite nicely; the S&P 500 and the Dow Jones industrial average have gained 10 percent and 6 percent, respectively. The same can’t be said for the small-cap Russell 2000, which has been struggling all year and is just about flat for 2014.

No matter how you slice it, though, returns are nowhere near as good as last year, when the S&P 500 rallied 29 percent and the Russell 2000 soared 37 percent.

However, this could be the technical setup for another good year for large-cap stocks, according to Craig Johnson, senior research analyst at Piper Jaffray.

“2014 to me looks like a corrective year after 2013,” said Johnson, who is also president of the Market Technicians Association. “If we’ve had just a correction in the average stock this year while we’re still in a secular bull market, that suggests that perhaps we’re setting ourselves up for a very nice 2015 as we see the breadth of the market improve after this corrective year.”

Johnson sees the recent pullback in the S&P 500 as just a temporary setback. “We’ve got some pretty good support at 2,020, which is where the September highs are at,” he said. “We’re setting ourselves up ultimately for a very nice 2015 and I think that these large-cap stocks may ultimately continue to be a place to be for the next year.”

The fundamentals may also be positive, but not as much, according to Chad Morganlander, portfolio manager at Washington Crossing Advisors.

“For 2015, what we’re thinking is about a 5 to 6 percent total return within the overall large-cap segment of the market, and somewhat more of a muted kind of return when it comes to the small caps,’ said Morganlander. “The overall theme for next year will be more of a deceleration of global growth.”