(Specifies UBS Global Wealth Management in 1st paragraph)
By David Randall
NEW YORK (Reuters) -Earning expectations among companies in the benchmark S&P 500 are back to all-time highs, suggesting that the decline in corporate profits that sparked fears of a U.S. recession in 2023 is over, said David Lefkowitz, head of U.S. equities at UBS Global Wealth Management, in a note Wednesday.
"The improving profit picture is one of the key reasons that we think the market can hold on to its year-to-date gains," he said, citing the nearly 20% gain in the S&P 500 for the year to date.
The market will likely remain "range-bound" over the fourth quarter as the resumption of student loan payments and a cooling labor market weigh on economic growth, he said. UBS expects the S&P 500 end the year at 4,500, up around 1% from its trading price Wednesday, and reach 4,700 by June.
Overall, profit expectations for the median company in the S&P 500 are up 5.6% since July 2022, UBS said, while estimates are at or above all-time highs in every sector but energy, healthcare, and materials.
(Reporting by David Randall)