Contrarians Banished as Wall Street Strategists Unite on S&P 500

  • It’s third straight year that all prognosticators are bullish
  • Spread between highest and lowest target is smallest on record

If you’re an investor in search of a skeptical view on U.S. stocks, you’ll need to look beyond Wall Street’s biggest banks.

For the third year in a row, every strategist surveyed by Bloomberg is bullish, predicting the S&P 500 Index will rise over the next 12 months. The spread between the highest and lowest forecasts is a measly 200 points, at 9 percent the smallest gap since data was available in 2007.

Call it the homogenizing effect of a 7 1/2-year bull market that has drowned out bears en route to becoming the second-longest on record. At 2,356, the average forecast called for the S&P 500 to rise almost 4 percent in 2017 from its latest close, a return that’s about one third of the 11 percent gain seen this year.

  • Biggest bull is Jonathan Golub at RBC Capital Markets, who has a year-end target of 2,500
  • Five strategists, including Goldman Sachs Group Inc.’s David Kostin, Julian Emanuel of UBS AG and Bank of America Corp.’s Savita Subramanian, are tied for the least bullish, with a forecast of 2,300 -- just 30 points from Tuesday’s close
  • Prognosticators nailed 2016, with the S&P 500 sitting within 2.5 percent above their target made a year earlier. That’s the closest they’ve come since 2005.

    NOTE: Dec. 19, Strategists’ S&P 500 Index Estimates for Year-End 2017 (Table) Strategists’ S&P 500 Index Estimates for Year-End 2017 (Table)
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