Goldman missing the mark (again)

As is so typical these days with large investment firms, Goldman Sachs is still maintaining their 1,450 target for the S&P 500 for year-end 2011 even though they just reduced their growth forecast for U.S. GDP from 3% to 2%.  One explanation (excuse) from Goldman is that the group that has the 1,450 target is different from the group that just reduced the GDP growth estimate.  Abbey Joseph Cohen, the lead of the group that reduced the GDP growth estimate stated on CNBC this morning that they don’t base targets for the S&P 500 on one quarter’s growth and that the S&P 500 trades on expectations of future economic growth, among other factors, over many quarters.  Fair enough, and I completely agree.  But the fact remains that if the U.S. economy, which was expected to grow much faster than 2%, only grows at 1.5% to 2%, which is what I have been saying for more than a year, the S&P 500 and stock valuations in general, are, even at today’s 1,295 level on the S&P 500, far too expensive.  How then can Goldman maintain their 1,450 target?  I will concede that a lot can happen in six months in the stock market, but to expect a 12% gain from current levels on the S&P 500 by the end of this year seems foolish.  I will bet money that Goldman will reduce that target in short order.  Or, they will be proven wrong (again).

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