S&P to Hit 1550 in 2013: Strategist
The S&P 500 will hit 1550 this year after an initial bumpy ride in the first half of the year, Chad Morganlander, Portfolio Manager at Stifel Nicolaus predicted Wednesday.
"It'll be a bumpy ride for the first half of the year – we expect U.S. GDP to be around 2 percent but it will be dead in the water for the first quarter to second quarter and then re-emerge once capital spending kicks in and the housing market improves. We should see a return of around 7 to 8 percent in the United States based on S&P earnings of $105 for 2013,"Morganlander said.
Global equity markets kicked off the New Year sharply higher triggered by the eleventh hour deal reached on New Year's' day which averted a series of automatic spending cuts and tax rises taking place.
The Dow has risen 7 percent since the start of the year and the first week of the year saw the S&P 500 close at its highest level in five years to 1,466 last Friday.
Morganlander said investors should keep their eyes on technology stocks including Apple and Cisco as well as other big blue chips such as Wal-Mart as potential strong performers in the coming months.
"These are all very cheap companies and should help you to ride out turbulent times and get some upside if we hit the price target of 1550 on the S&P," he said.
Goldman Sachs also suggests the S&P 500 could see a healthy march higher this year. Goldman said it expects a stable first quarter for the index but then a rise to 1575 before the year is out.
"Three events will likely constrain S&P 500 from advancing beyond its current 3 percent year-to-date rise until the end of the first quarter: debt ceiling; resolution of the 'sequester'; and fourth quarter earnings season. However, a strengthening U.S. economy, rising earnings, and modest starting valuation should lift the index to a new all-time high of 1575 by end-2013, reflecting a gain of 8 percent," the note said.
The upcoming earnings season which launched on Tuesday with Alcoa, the largest U.S. aluminium producer and Dow component and which is seen as a bellwether and indicative of the health of the global economy delivered numbers hitting its earnings target, will likely be keenly watched by Wall Street.
(Read More: Market Has a Big 2013 Open, Now Brace for Earnings)
By CNBC's Shai Ahmed: Follow her on Twitter @shaicnbc