US Markets

We've got our first 2019 market forecast from Wall Street: Credit Suisse sees 11% surge

Key Points
  • Credit Suisse equity strategist Jonathan Golub sets his 2019 S&P 500 forecast at 3,350 points, implying more than 15 percent upside from current levels.
  • "We believe that solid economic/EPS growth and benign recessionary risks will be sufficient to propel the market higher," Golub wrote.
Credit Suisse: S&P 500 to hit 3,350 in 2019

Wall Street has its first 2019 stock market projection. And things are looking very bullish to Credit Suisse.

Chief equity strategist Jonathan Golub told clients in a note published Tuesday that he expects the S&P 500 to rocket past his 2018 target of 3,000 points all the way to 3,350 points by December 2019. That's more than 15 percent upside from current levels and more than 11 percent from his December 2018 target.

"Our 2019 price target of 3,350 implies an 11.4 percent annualized advance over the next 16 months," Golub wrote.

But unlike this year, strong earnings won't be driving the gains. He points to multiple expansion, as investors grow more willing to pay premiums for top stocks like technology companies and consumer names.

How long will the bull market run?

"We expect earnings per share growth to decelerate from 21.5 percent in 2018 to 7.7 percent in 2019, largely the result of fading tax impacts, and is in-line with historical averages," he wrote.

This is not the first time Credit Suisse has published encouraging equity analysis in recent months.

Golub's team chided investors earlier this year for worrying too much about trade tensions, the specter of inflation and peak earnings, writing that fear could prevent many from realizing healthy returns.

At the time, Credit Suisse told clients "while each issue has merit, we believe investors are under-estimating the market's potential upside, and over-estimating risks."

The stock market proved Golub right, with the S&P 500 rebounding to a record last week, closing at 2,901.52 points on Friday.

More volatile ride

While Golub was upbeat on 2019 for the most part, he cautioned that the coming year could include more volatility and higher borrowing costs.

"The next 16-months will be particularly tricky for investors, with the threat of yield curve inversion, potentially disruptive midterm elections, and continued Fed tightening," Golub wrote. "Despite these headline risks we believe that solid economic/EPS growth and benign recessionary risks will be sufficient to propel the market higher."

He also acknowledged fears about signals being sent from the bond market, where a narrower gap between government bond yields is kindling fears that a recession is looming.

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