Regular readers of Bespoke know that we like to track the price targets of major Wall Street strategists. Each week, Bloomberg publishes a survey of these strategists that provides their year-end 2008 predictions for the S&P 500. At the start of the year, the S&P 500 stood at 1,468. Three strategists surveyed on January 2nd had a year-end price target of 1,700, which would have translated into a gain of 15.78%. These were the most bullish analysts of the 15 surveyed, and the average of all strategists was looking for a gain of 11%.
Unfortunately, the market hasn't played out as many would have liked thus far, and the three strategists with 1,700 price targets have now all lowered those estimates. This week, Bear Stearns was the last of the three to blink, lowering their 1,700 target to a more modest 1,550.
But even though many strategists have lowered their estimates, the current average estimate is still looking for a gain of 18.25% from now to year end. This would indicate that they are even more bullish now than they were at the start of the year.