In an interview, Bob Froehlich, chief investments strategist with DWS Investments, explained why he expects the Dow Jones industrial average will approach 12,500 by the end of next year.

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BOSTON — Amid so much bleak economic news, optimism is hard to find these days.

But it’s been gushing of late from Bob Froehlich, chief investments strategist with DWS Investments, which manages over $115 billion in more than 135 mutual funds and insurance portfolios.

Take a look at the bullish titles of investment commentaries Froehlich wrote as markets swooned early this fall: “It is Not 1929,” “This Too Shall Pass,” and “Buy American.”

In an interview, Froehlich explained why he expects the Dow Jones industrial average will approach 12,500 by the end of next year.

Q: What’s your outlook for 2009?

A: I think the Dow is going to have a very good year because I believe energy prices are going to stay low and I believe we’re going to get a massive stimulus plan in place. I would see the Dow approaching 12,500 by the end of next year.

I think this low interest-rate environment is going to help financial services, along with the massive consolidation we’ve seen within the industry.

Q: What are your biggest economic fears?

A: That there could be a short-term shock and an extreme negative if this great commodities slowdown in the price of oil and gasoline turns around in some way — say there’s a cut in production by OPEC (the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries), or some terrorist event disrupts supply.

The recent price declines have done wonders for business, investor and consumer confidence.

My other great concern is unemployment. With unemployment continuing to ratchet up, and with some forecasts at 8 or 10 percent it would make it very difficult for our economy to get footing when that number keeps going up.

Q: What makes you most confident a recovery is near?

A: Look at the backdrops of low interest rates and inflation.

To me, those are the two things that make it very, very bullish.