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The bull case: S&P 500 is heading to 3,000, investor argues

It's been a sweet few months for stocks, and according to one long-term-minded investor, the rally isn't nearly over yet.

"The odds are very high that the S&P goes all the way to 3,000," Mark Tepper, president of Strategic Wealth Partners, said Friday on CNBC's "Trading Nation."

To be sure, he's not saying that this move — which would take the large-cap index on a rally of 22 percent from its Friday close — will happen in the short term.

"It's certainly not going to be a straight-lined advance. Five to 10 percent corrections are inevitable," Tepper added. But he sees the current period of economic expansion continuing through 2018, if not 2019.

Once the time frame is set, it comes down to math. Tepper points out that analysts collectively expect the companies in the S&P 500 to earn $160.80 in 2019. At the current market multiple to earnings, that would translate into a 2,850 print on the S&P 500.

"However, over the course of the last five years, actual earnings have exceeded estimated earnings by 4.2 percent a year," Tepper said. "So you throw in some earnings beats and all of a sudden, you're sitting at that 3,000 number" in 2019.

Yet Gina Sanchez, CEO of Chantico Global, is a bit more cautious.

"We would make sure you temper your expectations because one of the assumptions that underlies that 3,000 point is that multiples basically stay where they are," Sanchez said Friday on "Trading Nation."

"Multiples tend to get ahead of themselves, and that's fairly normal at this point in the cycle," but as the recovery continues and the perceived risk of a recession rises, "I'm not sure the multiple can hang in there for that long."

That is to say, in order for the S&P 500 to actually trade at 3,000 in 2019, there would need to be a decent-sized share of investors who still see the market climbing higher from there, even with the recovery increasingly long in the tooth.

If most investors share Tepper's view come 2019 — which is that by then, a recession could be around the corner – it is hard to envision stocks continuing to trade at historically elevated valuations.

The S&P 500 closed Friday trading at a record, and the index is now up nearly 10 percent year to date.

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Trading Nation is a multimedia financial news program that shows investors and traders how to use the news of the day to their advantage. This is where experts from across the financial world – including macro strategists, technical analysts, stock-pickers, and traders who specialize in options, currencies, and fixed income – come together to find the best ways to capitalize on recent developments in the market. Trading Nation: Where headlines become opportunities.

Brian Sullivan

Brian Sullivan is co-anchor of CNBC's "Power Lunch" (M-F,1PM-3PM ET), one of the network's longest running programs, as well as the host of the daily investing program "Trading Nation." He is also a frequent guest on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" and other NBC properties.

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