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Crisis Won’t Derail 2011 S&P 500 Growth Predictions: Analysts

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A little thing like a U.S. credit rating downgrade won’t shake pundits off their 2011 prediction for the broad market. They’re still expecting a 17% rise for the year in the S&P 500.

Cambiar Investors’ Brian Barish said last December that energy and agriculture would fuel a “multi-speed recovery,” causing a rise in the S&P 500. The prediction at the time put Barish in agreement with other high profile money managers, most notably Ken Fisher, who said the broad market would rally by 17.5% in the next 12 months.

Fisher and Barish’s view was in opposition to the “new normal” theory of the economy championed by Pacific Investment Management Co., which said growth will be relatively slow in coming years.

However, despite the U.S. downgrade by S&P on Friday and resulting market swoons, chief strategists at 13 banks still said they see the broad market benchmark of American equities reaching 17% through Dec. 31, according to a Bloomberg survey. The news service reports “their projection that the index will reach 1,401 hasn’t budged in four weeks, while mounting concern U.S. growth is slowing drove the S&P 500 down 11% since July 22, including [Thursday’s] 4.8 % tumble.”

“I’m reluctant to overreact to some shorter-term weakness, no matter how real it is, because the market has proven to be unbelievably resilient,” Jonathan Golub, the chief U.S. market strategist at UBS in New York, told Bloomberg. “If you would have been acting that way for the last two years, you would have gotten killed by this market. Companies have done an absurdly good job of managing through this environment.”

Golub said the S&P 500 would end the year at 1,425.

Barry Knapp, the New York-based chief U.S. equity strategist at Barclays, told Bloomberg it’s unlikely the economy will contract even though data show a slowdown.

“If you sell stocks at 1,250, that’s a bet we’re going back to a recession, and we don’t buy that,” Knapp said. Bloomberg notes his year-end projection is 1,450. “The probability of the U.S. going back into a recession is low. These things have a way of running their course.”


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