Wall Street’s biggest bear is leaving Morgan Stanley’s investment committee. What he’s gotten right, and wrong, about the stock market.

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One of Wall Street’s biggest bears will be giving up some of his duties, stirring memories for some investors and market mavens of a previous shakeup that proved ill-timed for the market.

Mike Wilson will leave his post as chair of Morgan Stanley’s Global Investment Committee but will remain the firm’s chief U.S. equity strategist and chief investment officer, Bloomberg reported Friday, citing an internal memo. Lisa Shalett, CIO of Morgan Stanley’s wealth management business, will replace Wilson at the helm of the committee, the report said.

Morgan Stanley
MS,
+0.52%

didn’t respond to a request for comment.

Wilson won accolades for nailing the stock market’s 2022 tumble into a bear market, with the S&P 500
SPX
suffering its worst yearly slide since 2008. The prescient call, made in 2021, helped earn Wilson top stock strategist honors in Institutional Investor’s annual survey in October 2022.

But Wilson had less to celebrate in 2023. He had forecast the S&P 500 to end the year at 3,900. Instead, a relentless rally in megacap tech stocks helped drive the index to just shy of record territory by year-end, with the large-cap benchmark closing shy of 4,800 on Dec. 29.

Wilson in July acknowledged that “we were wrong” about the degree to which waning inflation and the artificial-intelligence boom would boost markets in 2023, but he remained steadfast that declining corporate earnings and the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank earlier in the year would eventually undermine the stock rally. 

On social media, the news of Wilson’s departure from the helm of the investment committee sparked schadenfreude from market bulls, but also drew some oblique references to the late 1999 exit of prominent strategist Charles Clough from Merrill Lynch, who had been bearish as the dot-com bubble approached its zenith.

With the news coming on the same day the S&P 500 and Dow Jones Industrial Average
DJIA
booked another round of record finishes alongside a surge for Big Tech stocks, others simply wondered if it would serve as a short-term contrarian indicator:

Unlike Clough, however, Wilson is sticking around.

Wilson will leave the firm’s Global Investment Committee to “focus on serving his key institutional clients, where the demand for generating tactical alpha is intensifying,” said Jed Finn, chief operating officer of Morgan Stanley, in the internal memo cited by Bloomberg.

And Wilson forecasts the S&P 500 to trade at 4,500 by the end of 2024, implying a 15.3% decline from where it settled Friday, at 4,958.61.

See: What 2024 S&P 500 forecasts really say about the stock market



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