The stock market will surge 26% next year as it has ‘one of the best setups’ in years, JPMorgan says – Markets Insider

A trader works on the floor at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., March 4, 2020. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid
  • The stock market is primed to surge in 2021 as key risks like the US election and COVID-19 pandemic begin to subside, according to a note from JPMorgan.
  • “The equity market has one of the best setups for sustained gains in year,” JPMorgan said.
  • The bank expects the S&P 500 to surge 26% to 4,500 by the end of 2021, according to the note. 
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US stocks are set to surge next year as key risks that investors faced in 2020 subside, according to a Thursday note from JPMorgan’s chief US equity strategist Dubravko Lakos.

The bank expects the S&P 500 to surge to 4,500 by the end of 2021, representing potential upside of 26% from Thursday’s close.  

“The equity market has one of the best setups for sustained gains in years,” Lakos said.

Those heightened expectations are predicated on the removal of uncertainty from the market thanks to the resolution of the US election and positive COVID-19 vaccines that could put a swift end to the pandemic.

Incremental fiscal stimulus and less negative headlines related to trade wars under a Joe Biden administration also lead to a more bullish backdrop for stocks next year.

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With more certainty in the markets, volatility should ease in the coming months, which would “drive a mechanical re-leveraging process further supporting equity multiples,” Lakos said.

Corporate buybacks could make a comeback in 2021 with built-up cash levels and a more normalized economy, as well as mergers and acquisitions, the bank predicted.

Finally, 2022 earnings expectations still have room to surprise investors to the upside, with 2022 growth likely pulled forward to the second half of 2021 as the economy reopens, according to the note.

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But there are still risks, mostly around Georgia Senate run-off races in January that will determine control of the Senate. If the Democrats manage to pull off a sweep and gain control of the Senate, there’s the potential for anti-growth policies, Lakos said.

And if interest rates rise, particularly if the 10-year jumps to 1.50%, Lakos would be “less comfortable with holding US equities,” according to the note. 

Still, despite the risks, expectations are for 2021 to be a solid year for stocks, with Lakos expecting the S&P 500 to quickly zoom to 4,000 in the first half of the year. 

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