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By John Butters  |  October 12, 2021

The price of the S&P 500 increased by 14.4% during the first two quarters of the year (to 4297.50 from 3756.07), but only increased by 0.2% during the third quarter (to 4307.54 from 4297.50). Where do industry analysts believe the price of the index will go from here?

Industry analysts in aggregate predict the S&P 500 will see a price increase of 14.8% over the next 12 months. This percentage is based on the difference between the bottom-up target price and the closing price for the index as of October 6. The bottom-up target price is calculated by aggregating the median target price estimates (based on company-level estimates submitted by industry analysts) for all the companies in the index. On October 6, the bottom-up target price for the S&P 500 was 5051.70, which was 14.8% above the closing price of 4399.76.sandp500-closing-price

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At the sector level, the Communication Services (+18.0%) sector is expected to see the largest price increase, as this sector had the largest upside difference between the bottom-up target price and the closing price on October 6. On the other hand, the Financials (+7.8%) sector is expected to see the smallest price increase, as this sector had the smallest upside difference between the bottom-up target price and the closing price on October 6.

At the company level, the 10 stocks in the S&P 500 with the largest upside and downside differences between their median target price and closing price (on October 6) can be found in the tables below.

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S&P 500: Difference Between Median Target Price & Closing Price: Top 10

COMPANYTARGETCLOSINGDIFF ($)DIFF (%)
Western Digital Corporation92.0057.3934.6160.3%
Las Vegas Sands Corp.58.0037.1220.8856.3%
Incyte Corporation98.0065.6532.3549.3%
Activision Blizzard, Inc.115.0077.3637.6448.7%
Under Armour, Inc. Class C27.0018.288.7247.7%
Biogen Inc.425.00287.77137.2347.7%
Moderna, Inc.453.00309.36143.6446.4%
Vertex Pharmaceuticals Inc.260.00180.0279.9844.4%
Tapestry, Inc.55.0038.1816.8244.1%
Global Payments Inc.230.00159.8770.1343.9%

Source: FactSet

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S&P 500: Difference Between Median Target Price & Closing Price: Bottom 10

COMPANYTARGETCLOSINGDIFF ($)DIFF (%)
Lumen Technologies, Inc.11.0012.70-1.70-13.4%
Xilinx, Inc.146.50158.07-11.57-7.3%
Ceridian HCM Holding, Inc.110.00118.53-8.53-7.2%
Marriott International, Inc. CI. A146.50157.75-11.25-7.1%
Paycom Software, Inc.475.50511.69-36.19-7.1%
ONEOK, Inc.57.0060.75-3.75-6.2%
Comerica Incorporated79.1084.15-5.05-6.0%
Robert Half International Inc.101.00107.14-6.14-5.7%
Juniper Networks, Inc.27.0028.63-1.63-5.7%

Source: FactSet

How accurate have the industry analysts been in predicting the future value of the S&P 500? Over the past five years, Industry analysts have underestimated the price of the index by 1.7% on average (using month-end values). Over the past 10 years, industry analysts have overestimated the price of the index by 0.8% on average (using month-end values). Over the past 15 years, industry analysts have overestimated the price of the index by 8.1% on average (using month-end values). Over the past 20 years, industry analysts have overestimated the price of the index by 9.6% on average (using month-end values).

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It is interesting to note that on September 30, 2020, the bottom-up target price was 3775.94. One year later (on September 30, 2021), the S&P 500 closing price was 4307.54. Thus, industry analysts underestimated the closing price at the end of September 2021 by 12% one year ago.

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