Market Insider

Here's where stocks are heading in 2nd half: Strategists

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.
Lucas Jackson | Reuters

"Halftime" for the 2015 investing year is here, and traders and investors galore are taking hard looks at their portfolios and positions.

With the Dow and S&P 500 both lower or flat on a year-to-date basis, the big question is whether there are enough positive catalysts to kick-start the market to the upside?

Among the major U.S. indices, only the Nasdaq Composite has shown some decent relative strength, giving it a 4 percent gain so far this year.

Strategists on Wall Street haven't changed their view on the large cap market much since the beginning of the year. The consensus view was that the S&P 500 would post mid- to high single-digit percentage gains for the year, and that thesis remains largely intact.

Large cap plays for the second half

According to the latest update of the CNBC Strategists' Survey, the median year-end price target sits at 2,224. The S&P was at 2060 in Tuesday trading.

Read MoreCNBC Market Strategist Survey

The high estimates on the street remain with RBC's Jonathan Golub and Fundstrat's Tom Lee, both predicting a year-end level of 2,325, which is 11 percent higher than current levels.

The low estimates on the street come via David Kostin at Goldman Sachs and Jonathan Glionna at Barclays, both predicting 2,100, which is just about where the S&P is currently trading.

So far, the S&P is up flat for the first half, and down 0.3 percent for the second quarter.

The S&P 500 has historically averaged a 0.6 percent gain for the third quarter going back to World War II, according to S&P/Capital IQ.

But in the third year of a presidential term, it often does better, gaining 1 percent. It has also ended the third year higher 88 percent of the time for an average gain of 16 percent, well beyond what the strategists' expect.