Stocks Are Still a Good Bet for the New Year, CNBC Survey Says

The party isn't quite over for stocks, according to an informal survey of investment pros by CNBC.

Many of the 19 top strategists and money managers surveyed are predicting as much as a 10% rise in the S&P 500 this year. Half say the index will hit 1550 during the year, while 22% believe it will hit 1600, the survey says.

That's not quite as strong as last year, when the S&P surged 13.6%, but it still represents a bullish outlook for stocks.

Most think the Federal Reserve's next move will be a cut in interest rates, with a majority saying it will come no later than the second quarter of this year.

And most predict economic growth will slow in 2007, with just 17% saying it will be the same as this year.

Many are concerned about energy prices. Those surveyed predict that oil will be volatile this year but will average between $60 and $70 a barrel.

Where is the best place to park your money and make a profit this year? There's no consensus, but there are clear favorites.

Healthcare and financials tied as the favorite sectors, while energy and materials are expected to be the worst performers this year.

Most of those surveyed also expect the pace of private-equity deals will continue this year.

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