At the end of 2016, we published this post on year-end price targets for Wall Street strategists. For 2017, the average strategist projected the S&P 500 to post a gain of 5.5%. That’s actually bearish relative to the average annual projection going back to 2000. As shown below, on average, Wall Street strategists collectively project a gain of 9.6% each year. In 2016, strategists predicted the S&P would gain 8.4%, which ended up being just 1.1 percentage points away from the actual gain of 9.5% seen last year. That was the closest they’ve ever gotten to hitting the mark. Normally, they’re about 5.5 percentage points above the actual year-end change.
Bloomberg tabulates these year-end estimates from strategists throughout the year. As mentioned above, at the start of 2017, the average year-end price target for the S&P 500 was 2,362. That would have translated into a gain of 5.5% based on where the index began the year. So where do strategists stand now that we’re already into the second quarter? They’ve gotten slightly more bullish, but they’re still looking for hardly any gains. As shown below, the average Wall Street strategist currently sees the S&P 500 ending 2017 at a level of 2,414. That’s an additional gain of 3% from the S&P’s current level. Normally a sanguine bunch, strategists are currently rather apathetic.