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High market hopes raise stakes as US stocks face inflation data, earnings

By Lewis Krauskopf

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Investors’ hopes are running high to start 2024, which could set up U.S. stocks for a rocky stretch if some expectations are not met.

Despite a shaky start to the year, the S&P 500 stands only around 2% below a fresh record high. Most investors have maintained a rosy view on everything from the U.S. economy and corporate profits to the Federal Reserve’s monetary policy trajectory.

For example, the narrative of resilient growth and gradually cooling inflation that helped boost the S&P 500 to a 24% gain last year has become the consensus view among investors.

The latest BofA Global Research survey, released last month, showed 66% of fund managers believed the economy will achieve a soft landing in 2024. Only 15% of fund managers expected a recession in the next 12 months, BofA’s data showed, a sharp contrast from a year earlier, when 68% of…

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