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Trader Sal Suarino works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, Thursday, July 13.Richard Drew/The Associated Press

Oppenheimer Asset Management on Tuesday projected the S&P 500 would rise above its record high by year end, the latest Wall Street firm to grow more bullish on the outlook for stocks following the market’s rally this year.

Oppenheimer lifted its year-end price target for the S&P 500 to 4,900 from the 4,400 projection it set in December, Chief Investment Strategist John Stoltzfus said in a note. The new target represents a roughly 7-per-cent increase from Monday’s closing price for the benchmark index, which has gained 19 per cent this year.

The S&P 500 record closing high is 4,796.56, reached on Jan. 3, 2022, while the index’s intraday record is 4,818.62, which it hit on Jan. 4, 2022.

Mr. Stoltzfus said his new target stemmed from expectations that U.S. inflation will continue to trend lower, the Federal Reserve’s rate-hiking cycle appears closer to ending, and “capitulation” by stock market bears “suggests that money held on the sidelines may flow into stocks in the months ahead.”

“Our appraisal of the market landscape … suggests that opportunity outweighs risk as current monetary policy generates a transition from a ‘free money’ environment to an environment with a traditional cost of borrowing,” Mr. Stoltzfus said in the note.

Oppenheimer’s more bullish view comes after Citigroup recently boosted its S&P 500 price target by 15 per cent, saying the more upbeat view reflected increased probability of an economic soft landing.

Morgan Stanley strategist Michael Wilson late last month acknowledged that “our more bearish views on the broader US equity market have been wrong this year,” although the firm’s base-case June, 2024 price target of 4,200 is about 8.5 per cent below current S&P 500 levels.

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