Trade war aside, this market shift may soon drive stocks back into record territory

The S&P 500 hasn't hit an all-time high in six months.

But J.P. Morgan Private Bank's Stephen Parker believes that could be about to change.

"I do think we break out to new records," the bank's head of thematic equity solutions said Wednesday on CNBC's "Trading Nation." "To us, it’s all about earnings."

Parker acknowledges rising interest rates and the trade war are downside risks, but he contends they haven't significantly materialized in the latest round of earnings outlooks.

"When you look broadly around the trade issue, companies haven’t really talked about it being a major headwind to their fundamental outlook. Clearly, the rise in uncertainty is not a great thing," he said. "But companies are still guiding towards continued strength, continued growth."

Parker sees the trend sparking a new wave of optimism on Wall Street. He believes investors are shifting from focusing on bearish "political noise" to strong corporate stories again.

According to Parker, that's the main catalyst to push the S&P 500 back into record territory and to the firm's official year-end price target of 2,900.

"We can hit that very soon," he said. "If this reporting season continues the way it started, I think we continue to see some near-term upside."

As of Wednesday's close, the S&P 500 is less than 1 percent away from hitting a fresh intraday all-time high.

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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.

Michael Santoli

Michael Santoli joined CNBC in October 2015 as a Senior Markets Commentator, based at the network's Global Headquarters in Englewood Cliffs, N.J.  Santoli brings his extensive markets expertise to CNBC's Business Day programming, with a regular appearance on CNBC's “Closing Bell (M-F, 3PM-5PM ET).   In addition, he contributes to CNBCand CNBC PRO, writing regular articles and creating original digital videos.

Previously, Santoli was a Senior Columnist at Yahoo Finance, where he wrote analysis and commentary on the stock market, corporate news and the economy. He also appeared on Yahoo Finance video programs, where he offered insights on the most important business stories of the day, and was a regular contributor to CNBC and other networks.

Follow Michael Santoli on Twitter @michaelsantoli

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