Tags: Bannister | S&P | 500 | 1600

Stifel Nicolaus’ Bannister: S&P 500 Likely to Hit 1,600 in Early 2013

By Dan Weil   |   Wednesday, 05 Dec 2012 09:06 AM

The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index should rise to 1,600 in the first two months of next year, up 14 percent from Tuesday’s close, says Barry Bannister, chief portfolio strategist at Stifel Nicolaus.

That assumes the fiscal cliff will be avoided, he tells CNBC.

"Right now the central banks have been in the lead around the world [with their massive easing], and we need the politicians to fall in line," Bannister says. "It's taking a little longer than I thought, though."

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Europe’s progress in dealing with its debt crisis and China’s apparent economic rebound also should boost U.S. stocks, he says.

Bannister is bullish on financial, energy, material and industrial stocks, as they have the biggest earnings in the S&P 500.

Once the index reaches 1,600, however, the environment will become more difficult, he says. “It’ll be a little harder to plow ahead from that level. We’ll need more growth globally.”

David Kostin, chief U.S. equity strategist at Goldman Sachs, also is bullish on stocks for next year, though not as much as Bannister. He anticipates the S&P 500 will end 2013 at 1,575, up 12 percent from Tuesday’s close.

That forecast is based on 7 percent earnings growth for companies in the index, Business Insider reports. A grand bargain on the budget deficit could lead Kostin to raise his estimate.

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