Sell Side Still Sees S&P 500 Up 20% by Year's End

Includes: IVV, SPY
by: IndexUniverse

Wall Street strategists remain bullish on the stock market for the remainder of 2008. Below we highlight the current S&P 500 year-end price targets of strategists polled weekly by Bloomberg. Based on the S&P 500's current price of 1,331.34, Merrill Lynch's target of 1,475 is the least bullish, even though the firm is still forecasting a gain of 10.79% from here. Goldman Sachs remains the most bullish, with a price target of 1,675. If Goldman's target proves correct, it would mean gains of 25.81% from current levels to the end of the year.

Based on the average of all estimates, the consensus year-end price target of all strategists is 1,591 (or 19.48% from current levels). Even though 19.48% seems like a lot, the forecast was even more bullish at the start of January. Many analysts have lowered their estimates since the start of the year (highlighted in red). Bear Stearns and Citi have lowered estimates the most at -8.82% and -7.46% respectively.

If investors are looking for excessive bearishness from analysts as a contrarian buy signal, they're nowhere close to it right now.