Below we highlight the most recent year-end S&P 500 price targets from strategists gathered weekly by Bloomberg. Morgan Stanley and Gallatin recently stopped providing price targets, so we've crossed them out from the table below. The average price target currently stands at 1,513, which is 7.52% higher than the current level of the S&P 500.
Bespoke readers might remember that Goldman got rid of bullish strategist Abby Cohen when the market was cratering in March. Cohen had a 2008 price target of 1,675 for the S&P 500, and after replacing Cohen at the market's bottom, Goldman's new strategist (David Kostin) lowered the firm's year-end S&P 500 price target from 1,675 to 1,380.
Below is an excerpt from an article written at the start of earnings season:
Goldman Sachs’ new strategist told clients that the S&P 500 is likely to decline further in the coming weeks as a number of U.S. corporations, which are reporting first-quarter financial results, are likely to lower their 2008 earnings guidance.
“Although only a few firms have reported first-quarter results, early signs are awful. … We expect generally disappointing results and a swath of lowered profit guidance that will drive the S&P 500 lower in coming weeks,” Goldman Sachs U.S. strategist David Kostin wrote today in the note to clients. “Our message to investors is stick to the fundamentals … pay close attention to the conference calls of these firms to gauge the state of the U.S. economy,” Mr. Kostin also wrote.
Mr. Kostin last month replaced Abby Joseph Cohen, Goldman’s longtime investment strategist who had been bullish on the S&P 500 outlook for 2008, expecting the benchmark index to end the year at 1,675.
Since Goldman's shakeup in strategist land, the S&P 500 has risen back above Kostin's 1,380 target to 1,407. Only time will tell if Goldman's decision to go bearish was actually the best time to buy all year.
UBS and Deutsche Bank still have the highest price targets at 1,650, followed by Lehman at 1,630. Goldman and Credit Suisse are the two firms that have year-end price targets that are currently lower than the S&P 500's current price.