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Bull Trader USA

The Tell: Citi rings in the new year by hiking S&P 500 price target. Here’s why.

Strategists at Citi couldn’t even wait a week before lifting their S&P 500 price target for 2022.

Strategists led by Scott Chronert lifted their S&P 500 SPX, -0.06% price target to 5,100 from 4,900 that they had set in October. The index fell fractionally to 4793.54 on Tuesday, its second highest finish on record, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA, +0.59% closed at a fresh record.

The strategists conceded that the increase was largely predicated on the 5% gain in the market over the last two months of the year.

“No doubt, the Q4 rally reflects a continuation of this past year’s earnings strength. Q4 results should support the recent market action, while 2022 outlooks should generally provide comfort in follow-through, despite ongoing COVID pandemic and supply-chain concerns,” the strategists said.

The biggest risk to markets, the strategists say, is from a growth scare triggered by Fed rates hikes, COVID-19 and/or ongoing price rises, but they expect flows into equities to persist with negative real rates. Real rates are interest rates adjusted for inflation. “Per our recent investor survey, there seems to be more agreement about downside risk than upside potential. Thus, investors seem keenly aware of the issues just described,” they said.

The Citi forecast matches the Goldman Sachs outlook, with Oppenheimer having the highest Wall Street forecast for the S&P 500, calling for a 5,330 finish.

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