Hopes are growing that a Covid-19 vaccine is coming. But Goldman Sachs thinks a vaccine might actually upend the stock market, which has continued to rally despite worries about a rise in cases in several key states.
A team of Goldman Sachs economists said in a report Thursday that there is a growing chance there could be an FDA-approved vaccine by the end of the year that would be widely available to Americans by mid-2021.
The effect on stocks could be major.
While a vaccine could boost the United States economy, it could also spur investors to dump the current market leaders that have helped propel Wall Street higher — most notably the FAANG+ Microsoft cabal of big tech stocks.
A vaccine approval could lead to “the kind of rotation that started and petered out in May and early June, supporting traditional cyclicals, steeper curves and banks, and challenging tech leadership,” Goldman said in the report.
That might also be good news for financial firms since bond rates could creep higher.
But the Goldman economists warned of varying outcomes for stocks over the next few months. The most likely scenario, they say, is for the market to flatline, with the S&P 500 reaching a high of 3,390 by year’s end — only about 2% higher than current levels.
An early vaccine could cause the index to climb as high as 3,700 if there is an early vaccine, Goldman said — or it could plunge to just below 2,200 if a second wave leads to “a more significant reversal” in economic activity. That’s an extremely wide range.
The Goldman analysts also pointed out in the report that the outcome of the US presidential election could also upend the markets, as investors try to figure out what the results will mean for taxes, government spending plans, US relations with China and the value of the dollar.