Stoltzfus Sticks by Call for S&P 500 to Rally 40% by Year-End

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(Bloomberg) — There are bears who see another 20% rout ahead for the S&P 500, and there’s bulls offering a theory for why the worst is over. And then there’s John Stoltzfus. 

The Oppenheimer & Co. chief investment strategist is sticking to his January forecast that the benchmark index will end the year at 5,330 — a whopping 40% or so from where it currently stands after advancing on Tuesday.

“We don’t think there’s going to be a recession, we do think we might skirt it,” Stoltzfus said via phone Monday. “It’s not an easy time, but we think this Fed is very capable of dealing with it because of experience dealing with the Great Financial Crisis.” 

Stocks have been battered this year — with the S&P Index down 21% — as the Federal Reserve hiked interest rates in an effort to tame the hottest inflation in 40 years. While that backdrop has lead many strategists to shift from their ultra-bullish 2022 price targets for flatter projections, it’s not worrying to Stoltzfus. In his view, the Fed will be able to “check the pace of inflation,” and supply chains will loosen up. 

Stoltzfus’s view could end up being solid advice in a world where stocks mostly rise. It may also represent the type of doubling-down that happens when a bet or prediction goes awry. Or, it may just be an example, however extreme, of Wall Street’s propensity for bullishness. 

His call is an outlier to the consensus of strategists but not that far removed from other bulls.

“The most dramatic point that I’d like to make is that, from Dec. 31, 2008 through March 2009, the S&P 500 dropped 25% on expectations that the Federal Reserve would fail in its efforts to get the economy back on track,” Stoltzfus said. “Instead, what happened was the market rallied 64% from March 9th through the end of the year. So if we can get half of that as a rally, we would be close to our 5,330 target.” 

“We’re not out of the woods yet, but we think we’re walking in the right direction and we think the light at the end of the tunnel is not the headlamp of a locomotive but rather it’s sunlight,” he said.

Stoltzfus said he will likely re-assess his target depending on market volatility over the course of the next few days.

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