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Wall Street’s S&P 500 predictions for 2024

How everyday investors are outsmarting Wall Street
Elmaz Sabovic

The recent dovish stock market performance has prompted strategists and industry giants to set optimistic outlooks for the S&P 500 in 2024.

This year, American stocks experienced a significant surge, driven by anticipated leniency in monetary policy and a boost in technology stocks fueled by optimism in artificial intelligence (AI). The S&P 500 is nearing its historical high by just under 2%, and the Nasdaq 100 reached a new record for the first time in two years. 

This uptrend followed signals from the Federal Reserve indicating a potential end to aggressive rate hikes aimed at curbing inflation, with the possibility of rate cuts in 2024.

Wall Street S&P 500 outlook. Source: CNBC Pro
Wall Street S&P 500 outlook. Source: CNBC Pro

Optimistic outlooks for S&P 500

With most of the predictions unchanged, one catches the eye. Goldman Sachs (NYSE: GS) has upped its target from the previous estimate of 4700 to 5100.

David Kostin, strategist from GS, envisions the S&P 500 reaching 5,100 points by the conclusion of the upcoming year, aligning with counterparts on Wall Street, such as those at Bank of America Corp (NYSE: BAC).

And Oppenheimer Asset Management is anticipating a new high in 2024. The Goldman strategist has adjusted his forecast upward by nearly 9% from the mid-November projection of 4,700, as reported by Bloomberg on December 18.

Furthermore, there exists a risk that Kostin’s earnings projection of 5% year-over-year growth in 2024 might be overly cautious, given the more lenient financial conditions expected to stimulate economic activity and corporate profits, as stated by Kostin.

While the strategist had previously acknowledged the accuracy of his team’s prediction that the S&P 500 would exhibit no profit growth in 2023, he conceded error in asserting that the index would not experience an ascent this year.

Recently, The Fear & Greed index registered 76, indicating Extreme Greed, marking the first instance since the stock market peak in July 2023.

Since the low on October 27, the S&P 500 has surged by 650 points, reflecting a 16% rally over 36 trading days—an average increase of 18 points per trading day.

Fear & Greed Index December 2023. Source: CNN Business
Fear & Greed Index December 2023. Source: CNN Business

With the optimistic outlooks by strategists and extreme greed by investors, markets seem to be gearing up for at least a strong start in 2024, but whether the S&P 500 will reach the forecasted targets remains to be seen.

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