The S&P 500 is up 19.9% this year due to a cooling in inflation, a less-hawkish Fed, an AI boom, a tech rally and an improvement in corporate earnings. We are currently in the last month of 2023, and the time is ripe to think about what lies ahead of the S&P 500 in 2024.
According to Bloomberg's Markets Live Pulse survey, the S&P 500 Index is expected to hit a new high in 2024, as quoted on Yahoo Finance. This positive outlook is driven by the belief that the U.S. economy will avoid a recession. However, a subdued consumer sector may lead to the index experiencing smaller gains compared to the notable 20% surge recorded this year.
The survey reveals that the median expectation of 518 respondents is for the S&P 500 to reach 4,808 points in the coming year, surpassing its previous closing peak of 4,797 from January 2022.
Against this backdrop, top-ranked S&P 500 stocks like
NVIDIA ( NVDA Quick Quote NVDA - Free Report) , The Progressive ( PGR Quick Quote PGR - Free Report) , Copart ( CRPT Quick Quote CRPT - Free Report) , W.R. Berkley ( WRB Quick Quote WRB - Free Report) and Everest Group Ltd. ( EG Quick Quote EG - Free Report) come across as winning picks.You can see . the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here Market Resilience Despite Economic Uncertainty
The majority of respondents do not expect a massive economic downturn as the primary risk to the markets. Plus, there are high chances that the Federal Reserve will cut interest rates before July, arranging more supplies of cheap money and helping the S&P 500 Index to rally.
Wall Street Strategists' Optimism
Prominent Wall Street strategists, including those at Deutsche Bank AG and RBC Capital Markets, predict record highs for U.S. stocks (their target is 5,100) in 2024.RBC Capital Markets and Bank of America believe that the S&P 500 may hit 5,000 by the end of 2024, as quoted on MarketWatch, published on Morningstar.
Meanwhile, Fundstrat's head of research, Tom Lee, projects the benchmark S&P 500 Index to end 2024 at 5,200 as slumping inflation would lead to easing financial conditions and the U.S. economy will once again be able to avoid recession,
as quoted on Yahoo Finance. Any Wall of Worry?
Despite the overall optimism, not everyone supports the same positive outlook. The likelihood of a U.S. recession or slowdown, a dearth of rapid Fed policy easing, uncertainty regarding the U.S. presidential election in 2024, or any new political or geopolitical crisis may complicate things.
The 2024 U.S. presidential election is seen as a potential cause of concern for the stock market. RBC notes that, on average, the S&P 500 tends to grow by about 7.5% during presidential election years, which is less than its typical growth rate.
Around 33% of survey participants think a slowdown in consumer spending could act as a potential risk to the market rally in 2024.JPMorgan believes that the S&P 500 will fall next year amid a challenging macro backdrop. The J.P. Morgan target is 4,200, while Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs expect the index to end 2024, respectively,
at 4,500 and 4,700. Moderate Upside Gains Possible, If at all Record High Hit
While the median forecast in the survey points to a record closing high for the S&P 500, it represents only a modest 4% gain from its current levels. This is pretty lower than the historical average of a 19% annual uptick when the index grows, as quoted on the Yahoo Finance article.
Below, we highlight five stocks from the S&P 500 that have solid upside left for 2024. These stocks have witnessed positive earnings estimate revisions for the upcoming quarter in the last 30 days. Each of our picks carries a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) or 2 (Buy) and has an upbeat
VGM Score A or B. NVIDIA ( NVDA Quick Quote NVDA - Free Report) – Zacks Rank #2
NVIDIA Corporation is the worldwide leader in visual computing technologies and the inventor of the graphic processing unit, or GPU. The stock is a huge beneficiary of the ongoing AI boom. The stock has witnessed 21.49% positive earnings estimate revisions for the upcoming quarter in the last 30 days. It has a VGM Score of B.
The Progressive ( PGR Quick Quote PGR - Free Report) – Zacks Rank #1
The Progressive Corporation is one of the major auto insurers in the country. The stock has witnessed 6.1% positive earnings estimate revisions for the upcoming quarter in the last 30 days. It has a VGM Score of B.
Copart (CPRT) – Zacks Rank #2
The company provides online auctions and a wide range of remarketing services to process and sell salvage and clean-title vehicles. The stock has witnessed 2.96% positive earnings estimate revisions for the upcoming quarter in the last 30 days. It has a VGM Score of B.
W.R. Berkley ( WRB Quick Quote WRB - Free Report) – Zacks Rank #1
W. R. Berkley Corporation is an insurance holding company that is among the largest commercial lines writers in the United States and operates worldwide in two segments of the property casualty insurance business: Insurance and Reinsurance. Each of the operating units within Berkley participates in a niche market requiring specialized knowledge about a territory or product. The stock has witnessed 2.32% positive earnings estimate revisions for the upcoming quarter in the last 30 days. It has a VGM Score of B.
Everest Group Ltd. ( EG Quick Quote EG - Free Report) – Zacks Rank #1
Everest Group underwrites property and casualty reinsurance for insurance and reinsurance companies in the U.S. and international markets. The stock has witnessed 1.67% positive earnings estimate revisions for the upcoming quarter in the last 30 days. It has a VGM Score of A.