2,014 in 2014 for S&P 500 suddenly a popular call
Whether it's just Wall Street market experts getting cute or there's something more scientific at play, the idea that the S&P 500 will finish 2014 at, yes, 2,014 has gained another convert.
Adam Parker, the chief market strategist at Morgan Stanley, just raised his target for the index next year nearly 10 percent from the original 1,840. He joins John Stoltzfus at Oppenheimer, who two weeks ago issued the first "2,014 in 2014" call.
Both projections suggest not merely a convenient and catchy forecast but also a decidedly bullish bent that the market can build on the momentum of a year—with nearly a month of trading left—where a 30 percent gain is not out of the question.
"Since last March, we have been sanguine on U.S. equities," Parker said in a note to clients. "Our logic has been driven more by lack of a bear case than the strength of the base case."
In the Stoltzfus call, he arrived at the number as a midpoint between two models the firm uses to project market price points.
(Read more: Oppenheimer has a wild 2014 market prediction)
In Parker's analysis, he concluded that the better-than-expected third-quarter earnings reports suggest a brighter profit horizon, leading to even more growth in the S&P 500's price-to-earnings ratio.
"For our base case we have raised our P/E assumption by about 3/4 of a turn," he said. "Our fundamental view is that a steeper curve and the lack of a bear case forming will cause multiple expansion."
However appetizing the 2,014 forecast may seem, it is at the far end of the spectrum.
There are few bears to be found, but most expectations see more muted returns ahead as the market adjusts to an expected lower amount of Federal Reserve stimulus and other factors.
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Citigroup, for instance, has a 1,900 target for the S&P 500—an optimistic outlook that nonetheless sees the market cooling its heels some from the massive 160 percent surge over the past four and a half years.
"Global equity returns to end-2014 are unlikely to match the strong (year-to-date) returns this year," Citi said in its annual outlook for clients. "But our forecasts do imply annualized returns to end-2014 beating historical averages."
Sam Stovall, chief equity strategist at S&P Capital IQ, pointed out Monday that great market years are usually followed by good ones.
But his 12-month forecast of 1,895 represents just a 5 percent gain from current levels and anticipates that the long-awaited correction is likely within the next few months.
"Since we believe the U.S. equity market does follow a cyclical pattern, we think it will be susceptible to slipping into a correction of between 10 percent-20 percent in 2014," he said in a report. "We believe a correction is not only possible, but is also probable in the year ahead."
Similarly, Goldman Sachs expects a 1,900 price target by the end of the year for a market that will have to survive a 10 percent drop.
"The market is now up almost 50 percent in 18 months with no 10 percent correction," David Kostin, Goldman's chief U.S. strategist, told CNBC. "It's basically been a straight shot up."
—By CNBC's Jeff Cox. Follow him on Twitter @JeffCoxCNBCcom.