March 18, 2008 / 2:26 AM / 11 years ago

Cohen replaced as Goldman Sachs forecaster - WSJ

NEW YORK, March 17 (Reuters) - Abby Joseph Cohen, whose bullish reports as Goldman Sachs Group Inc’s (GS.N) chief U.S. investment strategist had the power to move markets, has been replaced as the investment bank’s top forecaster of short-term market moves, the Wall Street Journal reported on Monday.

For years one of Wall Street’s most influential strategists, Cohen has been replaced by David Kostin, whom she hired four years ago, and whose own stock forecasts have been far less optimistic than Cohen’s of late.

Cohen remains at Goldman as president of its Global Markets Institute, concentrating on broad, longer-term global issues, the Journal said.

The 56-year-old Cohen told the Journal that she wanted to move away from S&P 500 stock forecasting and that Kostin had been gradually taking over the role.

“One thing I made clear internally was that I wanted to start working on longer-term issues and didn’t want to do the day-to-day market analysis,” Cohen told the Journal.

Kostin’s recent track record appears to have been more accurate than that of Cohen, a persistent bull who rarely called stock market declines.

Kostin foresees a drop in the S&P 500 Index to 1160 in the short term. The S&P 500 fell to 1276.60 on Monday.

Cohen had called for the S&P 500 to finish this year at 1675, although she told the Journal she now agrees with Kostin’s forecast.

As recently as late last month, Cohen said her stock market target for the Dow Jones Industrial Average .DJI remained at 14,750 by year end. After Monday’s gain, the Dow Jones, which has fallen around 10 percent this year, finished at 11,972.25.

Cohen in December told a German newspaper that the U.S. economy was unlikely to slip into recession. Earlier that month she predicted that investors could see growth re-accelerating in the middle of 2008, both prospects that appear increasingly unlikely.

The transfer of her responsibilities to Kostin occurred late in December but was not announced publicly, the Journal said.

The institute Cohen now heads does research into issues such as labor-force development, pension plans, health-care expenditures, capital-markets structure and regulation, as well as consulting with foreign governments, the newspaper said. (Reporting by Bill Berkrot; editing by Louise Heavens)

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