The second-quarter earnings season is off to a strong start, and UBS thinks the rising corporate profits should keep pushing the stock market higher for at least the next year.
David Lefkowitz, head of equities for the Americas at UBS Global Wealth Management, hiked his targets for the S&P 500, projecting the index to reach 4,500 by December 2021 and 4,650 by June 2022. UBS had previously projected the index to reach 4,400 and 4,500, respectively, at those intervals.
On a year-over-year basis, UBS sees profits for S&P 500 companies jumping more than 80% this quarter and revenue rising by 15%.
“Our estimates for the second quarter imply that S&P 500 earnings will beat consensus estimates by 15%. The bottom-up consensus suggest earnings will decline by 8% relative to the first quarter. This makes little sense to us,” the note said.
The S&P 500 traded around 4,388 at midday Tuesday, 2.5% below the December UBS target but above the average year-end target among major strategists, according to the CNBC Market Strategist Survey.
Despite those reports, the banks’ stocks fell during Tuesday’s session. UBS said in the note that investors shouldn’t worry about short-term reaction to quarterly results and instead trust that rising profits will keep the bull market going.
“In the last couple of earnings seasons, large earnings beats have not always been rewarded by the market. We can’t rule out a similar experience this earnings season. But we advise investors to not lose sight of the big picture,” the note said.