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Strategists Sticking With 17% S&P 500 Gain on Higher Profit

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Wall Street has never been more sure that the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index will rally in 2011, even after speculation the U.S. economy is heading for a recession prompted the biggest plunge since the bull market began.

Chief strategists at 13 banks from Barclays Plc to UBS AG see the benchmark measure of American equity surging 17 percent through Dec. 31, the average estimate in a Bloomberg survey. Their projection that the index will reach 1,401 hasn’t budged in four weeks, while mounting concern U.S. growth is slowing drove the S&P 500 down 11 percent since July 22, including yesterday’s 4.8 percent tumble.