The year 2025 will be significant in many ways. Not least is the fact that it will mark the quarter point of this young century.

Where will stocks be?

The subject came up last month at an Investment Management Consultants conference, in a session featuring two gifted market strategists, Jeffrey Saut of Raymond James and Mary Ann Bartels of Bank of America Merrill Lynch.

Saut, who believes we are in the early or middle innings of a secular bull market, told attendees his forecast called for the S&P to continue compounding at 16% annually, which it has done in past secular bull markets. That would bring it to 5,400 or thereabouts in 2025. I must confess my jaw dropped, but Saut reconfirmed it.

Bartels’ S&P target for 2025 is 3,500. That’s reasonable and an outcome that could leave many investors quite happy.

But maybe Saut’s call is not as improbable as it seems. Saut is clearly one of the smartest market strategists out there. Though equities have practically tripled from their March 2009 lows when the S&P 500 stood at 666, many consider them fairly valued in light of low interst rates and inflation.

For clients of financial advisors, the year 2025 will have relevance, as it will punctuate the time when the midpoint of the baby boom generation turns 70 years old. Surveys indicate that many boomers want to work into their 70s. Whether there will continue to be demand for their skills remains a wild card and it’s likely that many will be retired or semi-retired.

As a generation, they have invested in equities to a much greater degree than their parents and, if interest rates remain as low for a long time as many suggest, they may face few other choices when it comes to generating retirement income. So where the S&P 500 finds itself in the middle of the next decade is something many advisors and boomers would like to know.

Back in 2009, equities were as absurdly undervalued as they were overvalued in early 2000. With the S&P 500 currently at about 2,000, their performance over the last seven years mirrors that of the 1982-1990 period, when stocks tripled after a 16-year bear market.

From 1990 to 1999, they more than tripled again. So the scenario Saut envisions has occurred before.

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