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Top Wall Street strategists see the stock market recouping most of its losses into the year-end

After a brutal first half, strategists from major Wall Street firms see stocks regaining most of the ground they lost into the year-end. The S & P 500 is expected to finish the year around 4,627, more than 20% higher from Friday’s level, according to the average year-end target of top 15 Wall Street strategists. That means the strategists think the market will likely recoup most of 2022’s losses and finish the year down only about 3%. The market has had a tumultuous year, with the S & P 500 suffering its worst first half since 1970. The equity benchmark has tumbled into a bear market, down more than 20% from its record high reached in the first week of January. Some of the positive outlook comes from the hope that the U.S. could skirt a recession. Some expect that to be the case even as the Federal Reserve continues to aggressively hike interest rates to tame inflation. “While we still see an economic soft landing as the most likely single scenario, the potential upside for the major indexes has been diminished by slowing growth and higher government bond yields,” UBS’ team of strategists said in a recent note. JPMorgan’s Marko Kolanovic is among the most bullish strategists on Wall Street with a 4,900 year-end target on the S & P 500. The widely followed strategist believes investors have been too pessimistic on overblown recession fears, noting that the consumer remains strong on the back of economic reopening. “We believe rates market repricing went too far and the Fed will surprise dovishly relative to what is now priced into the curve,” JPMorgan’s Kolanovic said in a note. Kolanovic said he favored segments that sold off strongly and are trading near record-low relative valuations, including innovation-focused companies, China ADRs, small caps and biotech. On the bearish end of the spectrum, Morgan Stanley’s Mike Wilson, who has a 2022 target of 3,900, recently sounded the alarm on downward earnings revisions. Wilson said the S & P 500 could bottom in the range of 3,400 to 3,500 if the U.S. avoids a recession. However, if an economic downturn arrives, the equity benchmark could fall toward 3,000, or off more than 20% from Friday. — CNBC’s Michael Bloom contributed reporting.

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