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‘We really want exposure to the consumer’ as economy stages powerful recovery, Wells Fargo’s Chris Harvey says

Wells Fargo Securities’ Chris Harvey is building a major part of his strategy on a consumer comeback.

From hotels to casinos to restaurants, many of this year’s winning trades will involve spending outside the home, the firm’s head of equity strategy predicts.

“We really want exposure to the consumer,” Harvey told CNBC’s “Trading Nation” on Wednesday. ”We haven’t seen the consumer this strong coming out of a recession in a long, long time.”

Harvey, who’s in the V-shaped economic recovery camp, believes it’s time to boost exposure to consumer plays. He contends a ramp-up in Covid-19 vaccinations will help boost the consumer services group, which he upgraded to overweight from neutral last month.

Consumers “want to spend money on themselves, and they want to spend money on their family. That we think is a very, very potent cocktail, especially when you throw in monetary and fiscal policy,” said Harvey.

While Harvey focuses on consumer plays, he’s curbing his enthusiasm for early cycle trades. He believes bullish activity surrounding machinery, semiconductors, metals and small caps is in the late innings.

“Last year we got real positive on risk, on deep, deep value, small caps,” he said. “They’ve all performed incredibly well, and even better than we ever would have expected.”

Now, he wants to focus on groups that are less picked-over and haven’t performed as well relative to the overall market.

“Consumers are going to spend a lot of money on services,” said Harvey. “A lot of these names haven’t performed as well as the rest of the cyclical trade has year to date and over the last 12 months.”

According to Harvey, shifting money out of growth stocks, which are under pressure from rising Treasury yields, is a prudent way to get exposure.

“You want to continue to lighten up on growth and momentum-type stocks — especially on strength,” he said. “These are the areas … where a lot of the stress is going to occur over the next couple of weeks, next couple of months.”

His S&P 500 year-end price target is 3,850, which implies a 1% drop from Wednesday’s close.

“You could have 12 months ago closed your eyes and woken up and [had] great performance,” Harvey said. “We don’t think that’s going to occur over the next 12 months.”

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