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JPMorgan Says Omicron Won’t Stop the Global Equities Rally

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These translations are done via Google Translate
Omicron won’t derail the rally for global stocks, according to JPMorgan Chase & Co. strategists, adding another voice to the tone of cautious optimism in the market after the recent sharp pullback.

“Sporadic setbacks,” such as the emergence of omicron should be viewed “in the context of higher natural and vaccine-acquired immunity, significantly lower mortality, and new antiviral treatments,” strategists led by Dubravko Lakos-Bujas and Mislav Matejka wrote in a note. “We expect post-Covid normalization to continue to assert itself globally in 2022,” they said.

European and Asian stocks, along with U.S. equity futures, fell on Tuesday after Moderna Inc. executives confirmed that the omicron coronavirus variant could evade existing vaccines. Research is still underway to determine if the new strain is as virulent as its predecessors, while developers including Moderna, Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech SE are working on potentially updated versions of their shots.

Bullish Outlook

Unfazed by the latest scare, JPMorgan’s strategists forecast that the S&P 500 Index will gain about 9% from its current levels to climb to 5,050 by end-2022. “We continue to see market upside, though more moderate, on better-than-expected earnings growth with supply shocks easing, China/EM backdrop improving, and normalizing consumer spending habits,” they wrote in their year-ahead outlook note.

The strategists expect European equities to outperform U.S., Chinese stocks to fare better than emerging markets, and emerging markets to outpace developed ones.

They singled out a hawkish shift by central banks, rather than Covid-19, as the key risk to their bullish outlook, while recommending that investors retain a pro-cyclical tilt, with a preference for energy and financials, consumer services, and small caps. They favor healthcare over other defensive sectors.

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