Three months ago we revisited our prediction of the S&P 500 return including the estimate of real GDP for the fourth quarter of 2010. Here, we update our model and include the GDP estimate for the first quarter of 2011 and the monthly closing prices through May 2011. As discussed in our working paper on S&P 500, there exists a trade-off between the growth rate of real GDP, G(t), and the S&P 500 returns, R(t). The predicted returns, Rp(t), can be obtained from the following relationship:
Rp(t) = 0.0064dlnG(t) - 0.03 (1)
where G(t) is represented by the Q/Q (annualized) growth rate, because only quarterly readings of real GDP are published by the BEA.
Figure 2 displays the observed S&P 500 returns and those obtained using real GDP. As before, the observed returns are MA(12) of the monthly returns. The period after 2003 is relatively well predicted. Therefore, it is reasonable to assume that G(t) can be used for modeling of the S&P 500 index and returns. Reciprocally, current S&P 500 may be used for the estimation of real GDP. The predicted return is lower than that observed in April and May 2011. We can assume that the level of S&P 500 should be corrected downwards or the preliminary estimate of GDP should be revised up.
Figure 1. Observed S&P 500 return and that predicted from real GDP. For a given quarter, all monthly values of the growth rate relative to the previous quarter are equal.