Goldman Sachs Grows a Bit Cautious on Small-Cap Stocks

Goldman SachsInvestors who prefer to invest in small-cap stocks instead of Dow Jones Industrial Average and S&P 500 Index stocks may have a difficult time through the rest of 2014. That is the take of a report from Goldman Sachs, signaling that the gains in small-cap stocks will be less than in large-cap stocks.

Goldman Sachs strategist David Kostin raised his price target for the S&P 500 in the past week, up to 2,050 from 1,900. It sounded more bullish, but the reality is that this is just very limited upside. Kostin's new call implies upside of roughly 4% for small-cap stocks, versus roughly 6% upside in large caps.

Kostin believes the Russell 2000 has gotten pricier than the large-cap indexes. The ratio that he represents is 21.3 times forward price-to-earnings ratios. Another issue that was pointed out is that the average is less than 16 times forward earnings over the past five years.

Much of the Goldman Sachs call refers to Fed Chair Janet Yellen's comments just last week that certain aspects of small caps had gotten pricey. Yellen did not specify any company names outside of selecting a brief reference to tech (social) and biotech.

Another concern brought up by Kostin is that small-cap stocks saw a deeper correction earlier this year and are now up only 1% so far this year.

Goldman Sachs can move markets when it makes major changes. That is not really up for debate. Still, its bearish-to-bullish bias change was very late — and it is still calling for upside.

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