The S&P 500 just posted its best first half in more than two decades, and a majority of Wall Street professionals think stocks can keep climbing from here.
More than 50% of respondents to CNBC’s “Halftime Report Stock Survey” said their outlook remains positive, with 65% saying that the U.S. continues to be the most attractive place to invest. The S&P may be at an all-time high, but 66% of respondents said equities are correctly valued, with 15% saying they look cheap.
The survey included strategists, investors, and traders who appear on CNBC’s “Fast Money Halftime Report.”
Stocks may have closed out the second quarter on a high note — it was the Dow’s best June since 1938, the S&P’s since 1955 — but the looming threat of a trade war and a global growth slowdown did rock the market. Throughout the quarter the yield on the US 10-year Treasury note moved lower, and gold rallied as investors piled into these traditional safety trades.
But the pros took advantage of uncertainty, with 44% saying that declining rates prompted them to increase their exposure to equities and take on additional risk. And one area of the market where they continue to find value is in technology stocks.
Tech is the top-performing sector this year after gaining 26% — the sector’s best first half since 1998 — and a majority of respondents indicated that they believe the group will continue to lead, with 84% calling it a top pick.
Financials was another popular choice among those surveyed, with 40% saying they favor the sector. Bank stocks gained roughly 7% in the second quarter, outpacing the other 10 S&P sectors. Health care and industrials got 40% and 32% of votes, respectively, with staples, real estate, and communication