PNC Financial’s Amanda Agati believes stocks have more room to run to fresh all-time highs, but she doesn’t expect an easy run.
“The challenge going forward is that all-important month of December,” Agati told CNBC’s “Trading Nation” on Wednesday. “It’s going to be a busy calendar month certainly with the next round of tariffs going into effect mid-month, a U.K. general election coming and certainly impeachment-related news.”
As a result, PNC Financial’s chief investment strategist expects volatility to make a comeback.
Yet, she doubts it’ll come at the expense of record gains.
“The macro noise has started to fade a bit, and that has enabled investors and certainly the market to focus on what we believe matters,” said Agati. “That’s really the underlying fundamentals and economic data improving.”
Agati estimates the S&P 500 could rise another 3% to 4% by year-end, taking the index to around 3,200.
Her analysis follows Federal Reserve chief Jerome Powell’s testimony Wednesday before the Joint Economic Committee. He reiterated the Fed’s intention to leave interest rates alone for the foreseeable future, and he expressed optimism regarding economic growth.
The major indexes bounced back from early losses on the heels of Powell’s comments. Both the S&P 500 and the Dow closed at all-time highs.
“Our hope is that the underlying fundamentals will continue to hold up,” Agati said.
She suggests the market’s record momentum should continue into at least the first half of next year — with emerging markets getting some of the biggest benefits from an improving economic backdrop.
“EM has been on a tear the last few month — certainly a function of the macro story improving, recessionary fears fading a little bit [and] tariff news fading into the background,” Agati said. “The Alibaba Singles Day sales hitting an all-time record certainly reinforces our view that the EM consumer is alive and well. So, that’s one that we really have our eye kind of focused on for the new year.”