Credit Suisse cuts market forecast because of the coronavirus 'global demand shock'

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A trader reacts as he works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) on January 10, 2020 in New York City.

Kena Betancur | Getty Images

As the coronavirus outbreak continues to weigh on markets, Credit Suisse on Monday cut its market forecast for the year and said that earnings growth for U.S. companies will be near-zero. 

The firm said that what started as a supply chain disruption has evolved into a “global demand shock,” and that there’s likely “further downside to stock prices over the near-term” before markets turn a corner.

Chief U.S. equity strategist Johnathan Golub now sees the S&P 500 ending the year at 3,300, which is about 11% above where the index currently trades. Credit Suisse’s prior forecast was 3,600. 

The firm also cut its 2020 earnings per share forecast to $165 from $175, for a decline of about 5.7%.

U.S. stock futures pointed to sharp losses at the open on Monday, with the major indices set to decline 5% and the Dow Jones Industrial Average tracking for a more than 1,300-point drop. The selling comes as the number of coronavirus cases worldwide rises, and as an oil price war erupted over the weekend, sending crude to multi-year lows.

The coronavirus has now infected more than 111,200 people globally, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University, with at least 564 reported cases in the U.S.

Golub said that the majority of the economic impact from the coronavirus will be felt in the second quarter, before business activity rebounds in the second half of 2020 and into 2021.

– CNBC’s Michael Bloom contributed reporting. 

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