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Goldman Sachs analysts have said they now expect the S&P 500 to rise to 4,900 by the end of the year, rather than 5,100, as the Federal Reserve raises interest rates further than previously expected.
The bank now expects the Fed to raise interest rates seven times in 2022, having upgraded its Fed forecast after data last week showed that inflation hit a 40-year high of 7.5% in January.
Goldman equity analysts, led by chief US strategist David Kostin, said in a note this weekend higher rates and bond yields will weigh on stocks. Yields are a key input into equity valuations, with higher rates by and large making stocks look less attractive.
The bank's new 4,900 target is 11% higher than Friday's closing price of 4,418.64. But it's only around 3% above where the S&P 500 started the year.
Stocks have been rocked in 2022 by the Fed's abrupt pivot to inflation-fighting mode, which has caused investors to rapidly reassess the likely path of interest rates. Some traders are even expecting a "shock-and-awe" 50 basis point interest-rate hike in March.
Rising chances of a Russian invasion of Ukraine are also adding to investors' fears, while skyrocketing inflation is denting consumer confidence. The S&P 500 was down 7.3% for the year as of Friday's close.
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Nonetheless, Goldman said relatively strong economic growth should support company earnings and help stocks rise in 2022.
"The macro backdrop this year is considerably more challenging than in 2021. However, we continue to expect that equity prices will rise alongside earnings and reach a new all-time high in 2022," they wrote.
Kostin and his team said even when growth is decelerating and bond yields are rising, 12-month S&P 500 returns have averaged 8%.
However, they also analyzed what would happen if inflation stayed hotter than expected and the Fed had to hike rates even faster than currently anticipated. In that case, the S&P 500 would decline by 12% to 3,900, they said.