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Birinyi Predicts S&P 500 Will ‘Tread Water’ With 1,740 Forecast

Birinyi Associates President Laszlo Birinyi
Birinyi Associates Inc. President Laszlo Birinyi wrote in a report that “we are not suggesting a correction or a decline, but instead that there will be a period of treading water.” Photographer: Jin Lee/Bloomberg

The biggest rally in U.S. stocks since the 1990s technology bubble is poised to slow, with the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index adding 2.5 percent by the end of the year, Birinyi Associates Inc. said.

Birinyi, among the first to advise buying American equities before the advance began in 2009, said the S&P 500 may set a new high of 1,740 by December. The forecast implies a pause in the benchmark gauge after a 19 percent surge this year.

“We are not suggesting a correction or a decline, but instead that there will be a period of treading water,” Laszlo Birinyi, president, and Jeffrey Yale Rubin, an analyst at the firm, wrote in a report today.

The S&P 500 has jumped 150 percent since March 9, 2009 in the biggest bull market since the index more than quadrupled from 1990 to 1998, surpassing the rally that ended in 2007. Stocks climbed this year as earnings exceeded analyst forecasts, unemployment declined and the housing market improved. The S&P 500 surpassed Birinyi’s previous target of 1,600 in May and has gained as much as 7 percent since then to set a record of 1,709.67 on Aug. 2.

The forecast from Westport, Connecticut-based Birinyi compares with the 1,677 average of 17 Wall Street strategists surveyed by Bloomberg, whose estimates range from 1,440 to 1,775. The S&P 500 declined 0.4 percent to 1,690.11 at 1:54 p.m. New York time today amid investor speculation that the Federal Reserve will pare bond purchases as the economy strengthens.

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