Goldman Sachs analysts say there’s still potential for more stock gains

Goldman Sachs analysts say there’s still potential for more stock gains
  • PublishedMarch 25, 2024

It’s been a bumpy road for the stock market this year, but investors aren’t complaining.

That’s because markets have rallied to new highs and have already soared past analysts’ 2024 estimates.

The S&P 500 has surged more than 10% since January, and last week it surpassed Goldman Sachs’ year-end target of 5,200.

So what comes next?

The question is weighing heavily on the minds of investors, Goldman Sachs’ strategists wrote in a note Friday.

The analysts, led by Goldman’s chief US equity strategist, David Kostin, presented a scenario in which mega-cap tech stocks could continue to grow and propel the S&P 500 an additional 15% higher to the 6,000 level by the end of the year.

The current rally in growth stocks is different from what happened when markets crashed in 2021 or during the tech bubble, the analysts wrote. This time around, investors are paying closer attention to how much profit companies are actually bringing in, they said.

And while enthusiasm for artificial intelligence is at a fever pitch, Goldman’s analysts said growth expectations and valuations for the largest technology, media and telecommunication stocks are “still far from bubble territory.”

The investment bank also presented a more tempered scenario in which the S&P 500 climbs 11% to reach 5,800 by year-end. In this case, markets would just have to catch up to their pre-pandemic valuation levels.

Either of these shifts higher, analysts wrote, are dependent on the Federal Reserve’s next policy move. Investors have been worried that the central bank will keep interest rates elevated for longer than previously expected in response to persistently high interest rates.

“A shift in the interest rate outlook without a deterioration in the economy is necessary for the market rally to broaden,” the analysts said. “Today, a large swath of the market remains weighed down by concerns of ‘high-for-longer’ interest.”

They also presented a worst-case scenario in which mega tech stocks could fail to live up to expectations, causing markets to fall by 14% this year.

But for now, Goldman analysts will keep their baseline prediction of 5,200 for the S&P 500 unchanged. That means markets would drop by about 1% before the end of the year.

“Both our expected path of the federal funds rate and our above-consensus economic growth forecast appear to already be priced by markets,” they wrote.


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