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What 16 strategists forecast for the S&P 500 in 2017

Sam Ro
Managing Editor
2016 is over.

What does 2017 look like for the stock market?

Below is a summary of what Wall Street’s top strategists are telling their clients.

Bank of America, Savita Subramanian — Target: 2,300; EPS: $129
“…2017 could be anything but normal. We see fat tails and a binary set of outcomes. Against the backdrop of elevated valuations, slow growth and limited scope for credit expansion, our target and the recent rally are reliant on policymakers’ ability to deliver growth next year. Trump’s comments on trade and GOP comments on deficits/spending could drive big market swings in the coming months. Risk-reward will be more important than absolute targets. ”

Barclays, Jonathan Glionna — Target: 2,400; EPS: $127
“…Upside could be as high as $133 based on our analysis of President-elect Trump’s economic and trade plans… The primary adjustment comes from lower taxes. If the statutory tax rate of the S&P 500 falls from 26% to 18% for the full year 2017, which is the assumption we used in 2017 EPS Outlook: Upside under the Trump plan, it would add $13 to EPS… While lower tax rates could be a material positive for earnings there are some offsets that need to be considered, as President-elect Trump’s plans could also create adverse outcomes. Expansionary fiscal policy is likely to lead to higher interest rates which will likely in turn create relative strength for the USD. A strong U.S. dollar is bad for S&P 500 profits because a significant portion of earnings are derived overseas.”

BMO, Brian Belski — Target: 2,350; EPS: $134
“…bouts of increased doubt and rhetoric are sure to generate consternation, with volatility representing a constant theme. However, the resiliency of US companies has proven itself time and time again throughout this bull market, and investors should avoid trying to time the market, in our view. Thus, we believe there is no reason to expect that a dramatic reversal in longer-term fundamentals is imminent. Rather, the slope of our long-standing secular bull market call remains positive…”

Canaccord, Tony Dwyer — Target: 2,340; EPS: $130
“…Despite the likelihood of a temporary pause in the upside given recent ramp, we remain buyers because: (1) our positive fundamental core thesis remains in place, (2) economic data and EPS continues to improve, and (3) our key tactical indicators suggest a favorable risk/reward environment…”

Citi, Tobias Levkovich — Target: 2,325*; EPS: $129
“Trumped up could trickle down (to EPS)…Tax cuts could be quite stimulative to S&P 500 EPS. If one assumes a 20% statutory tax rate with no deductions versus a current effective tax rate running at near 27%, that might add as much as $12 of 2017 EPS to Citi’s current estimate of $129…A stronger US dollar is plausible if growth and inflation ensue, thereby limiting the earnings benefits. Higher rates from the Fed and possible “crowding out” plus inflation pushing bond yields upward are viewed as offsetting negatives especially if the dollar climbs and eats into earnings. Every 10% move in the greenback might shift EPS by around 2% on an annual basis and therefore must be tracked as well…”
*Levkovich raised his target to 2,425 on December 23.

Credit Suisse, Lori Calvasina — Target: 2,300; EPS: $123.90
“What are the positives? (i) Currently investors are overweight deflation hedges (i.e. bonds) relative to inflation hedges (equities) when policy makers are moving away from NIRP towards fiscal stimulus, and inflation expectations are set to continue rising; (ii) Earnings revisions are near a five-year high, and we foresee a rebound in US earnings; (iii) there is a still reasonably elevated equity risk premium; (iv) excess liquidity remains supportive; and (v) economic momentum is set to rise, which isn’t discounted by bond to equity returns.”

Deutsche Bank, David Bianco — Target: 2,350; EPS: $130
“Republican sweep economic policies will be more about deregulation and tax cuts than protectionism or huge spending. We think so because big actions require legislation, which Congress will shape. This Congress is likely to resist surging deficits, protectionism and executive overreach… The corp tax rate is likely cut in the first 100 days and other proposed major corp tax code changes deferred… A 15% corp tax rate is unlikely, but if cut to 25% from 35% it would align with the OECD avg and likely raise the deficit by only ~0.5% of GDP until growth can offset it. Cutting to 25% cuts repatriation taxes on a permanent basis and will also provide small businesses that want to reinvest their profits for growth a more tax efficient alternative than pass through entities. A 25% corp tax rate, all else equal, would boost S&P EPS by $10 and support a quick S&P rally to 2300 and 2400 by 2017 end.”

FundStrat, Tom Lee — Target: 2,275
“Drawdowns of 5%-7% in 1st year of a New President, usually within first 90 days. Catalyst for drawdown? Policy risk and/or inflation confusion in bond market. Bond market signaling inflation confusion— foreboding flattening LT yield curve. Flattening of long-term yield curve generally leads to a 5%-7% sell-off…”

Goldman Sachs, David Kostin — Target: 2,300; EPS: $123
“In 2017, we expect the stock market will be animated by competing views of whether economic policies and actions of President Trump and a Republican Congress instill hope or fear…’Hope’ will dominate through 1Q 2017 as S&P 500 climbs by 9% to 2400…’Fear’ is likely to pervade during 2H and S&P 500 will end 2017 at 2300, roughly 5% above the current level.”

Jefferies, Sean Darby — Target: 2,325; EPS: $131.90
“…Equities are benefiting from the unwinding of the momentum trade in fixed income and reach for yield, but a strong dollar will act as a ceiling for earnings and will tighten liquidity conditions…The valuation starting point for the S&P 500 is not kind and neither is the outlook for earnings (excluding corporate tax cuts). The good news is that wages are set to grow much faster than at any other point in this cycle. Four things to consider. DIMP. Dollar strength. Inflation. Margins. Pricing Power. However, the main headwind is higher US treasury yields. The major risk would be if US real interest rates climbed too quickly or if credit spreads were to widen dramatically.”

JPMorgan, Dubravko Lakos-Bujas — Target: 2,400; EPS: $128
“Equity upside will be closely linked to improving earnings delivery. Prospects of expansionary fiscal policies under a relatively easy monetary backdrop are likely to help support further re-rating of the equity multiple…but both the passage and efficacy of these measures are far from certain at this moment. Stronger US dollar and higher rates are main sources of downside risk for corporate earnings and the equity multiple, especially if those trends are not supported by stronger growth.”

Morgan Stanley, Adam Parker — Target: 2,300; EPS: $128.70
“We expect uncertainty and volatility will be larger in 2017 than in previous years given the Republican Sweep and the impact this will certainly have on some policy. However, our gut instinct is to fade the current optimism about reflation and be long a little legislative gridlock relative to the consensus banter. After all, terms like ‘budget neutrality’ are probably not permanently extirpated from the American vocabulary just because DJT is the President-elect. For the coming year, we think it isn’t an ‘if’ but a ‘when’ to fade the reflation trade, but our best guess is that we stay long reflation until closer to inauguration and fade it sometime after that.”

Oppenheimer, John Stoltzfus — Target: 2,450; EPS: $125
“Our expectations are for stocks to find further support in the New Year from a continued and further improvement of the current economic expansion stateside along with additional progress that we expect to see in the modest recovery abroad (aided by accommodative monetary policy both domestically and abroad) even as geopolitical and populist headwinds abound… Our expectations are for tailwinds for the equity market stateside as elements of the stimulative fiscal agenda broadly outlined by President elect Donald Trump are implemented. In our view, this could provide further support for stock prices and some upside risk to our benchmark target.”

RBC, Jonathan Golub — Target: 2,500; EPS: $128
“Following two years of near-zero growth, we expect profits to re-accelerate. A better operating environment for Financials and Energy should contribute to faster growth in 2017 (+7.6%). 2018 EPS growth (+9.4%) assumes a 2–3% impact from Trump policies. This place holder for changes in taxes, regulation, and spending is quite modest, in our view, as an adjustment to corporate taxes alone could easily double this impact…We believe multiples will advance more quickly than earnings over the near term, as analysts wait for clarity on Trump policies before adjusting estimates.”

Societe Generale, Roland Kaloyan — Target: 2,400
“In the US, the S&P500 should continue to be supported by higher growth, higher inflation and lower taxes, but the upside is limited given its already high valuation and higher Fed rates.”

UBS, Julian Emanuel — Target 2,300; EPS: $127
“…Age alone does not end the Bull – a recession, catalyzed by rising rates or an exogenous shock, has begun shortly after each major Top of the past 25 years. And while Fed hikes “start the clock”, neither valuation excesses nor signs of a recession are apparent. 2017 should see balance sheet strength, a return to earnings growth after a two year drought, and rising interest rates.”


Sam Ro is managing editor at Yahoo Finance.
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