Stocks listed on the New York Stock Exchange closed 2023 nearing record highs. The S&P 500 advanced by nearly 24% since the start of the year, with a significant acceleration over the past two months as investor confidence surged amid bets that the Federal Reserve will begin to introduce interest rate cuts in the early stages of next year.
According to data compiled by Bloomberg, the 20 Wall Street strategists tracked by the financial news outlet project the S&P 500 to finish 2024 at 4,850, just under 2% more than 2023. Still, there is a major deviation between more optimistic strategists such as Oppenheimer and Funstrat, who are predicting a 5,200 finish, and conservative strategists such as JPMorgan, who posted a forecast of 4,200.
Goldman Sachs strategists decided to boost their forecasts following the two-month rally amid rising investor confidence. “Resilient growth and falling rates should benefit stocks with weaker balance sheets, particularly those that are sensitive to economic growth,” Goldman Sachs chief US equity strategist David Kostin wrote in a note to investors. The firm has posted a 2024 forecast of 5,100 for the benchmark index.
JPMorgan retains a hawkish outlook, however, forecasting a 12% decline for the S&P 500. “Absent rapid Fed easing, we expect a more challenging macro backdrop for stocks next year with softening consumer trends at a time when investor positioning and sentiment have mostly reversed,” the firm’s team of analysts wrote in its 2024 outlook report.