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Investing Specialists

Readers Predict So-So Gains for Stocks, Flat Performance From Bonds in 2014

In our second annual poll, readers agree on one thing: Growth will be the swing factor in market performance.

Morningstar.com readers are expecting a positive, though not huge, gain from stocks following their dizzying ascent in 2013. They're less impressed with bonds' prospects, however: The average respondent to my recent query in Morningstar's Market Insights forum anticipated just a tiny positive gain from the beleaguered asset class this year.

Those were the results of Morningstar.com's second annual reader poll, conducted informally by me on Morningstar.com's Discuss forums. In the interest of fun (and in full recognition of the fact that it's next to impossible to predict the market's short-term direction), I asked Morningstar.com readers to break out their crystal balls and make their best guess about how the S&P 500 and the Barclays Aggregate Bond Index would perform in 2014. Readers complied, sharing their forecasts and their rationales. As of the afternoon of Jan. 2, the mean S&P 500 forecast was about 6.5%, while bonds were clinging to positive territory--but just barely.