Citi U.S. equity strategist Scott Chronert raised his year-end 2023 S & P 500 price target to 4,600, citing stronger odds of a soft landing. He also hiked his mid-2024 target to 5,000. Previously, the strategist called for the broader market index to end 2023 at 4,000 and to hit 4,400 by the middle of next year. “The near-term hurdles we envisioned into Q3 are now behind,” Chronert wrote in a report late Friday. “The new targets reflect increased probability of a soft landing in our scenario approach.” “Related, stronger earnings growth headed into ’24 is an important call out,” he added. The new targets suggest that the S & P 500 has just 0.4% upside from Friday’s closing level to the end of the year, and it anticipates a gain of over 9% from here to the middle of 2024. (See where Wall Street stands on the 2023 outlook for the S & P 500 here .) Does this suggest valuations are currently stretched? “Yes, and no,” the strategist said. “Growth cluster valuations are high but supported by fundamental drivers,” Chronert wrote. “Cyclicals are trading below longer-term averages while Defensives are mostly in line with history.” He added that when it comes to the prospects of a “new growth era,” opportunities in artificial intelligence, as well as less cyclicality and strong free cash flow generation factor into that discussion. “The good news is that we are now entertaining that possibility,” Chronert said. — CNBC’s Michael Bloom contributed reporting.
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