JPMorgan sees S&P 500 surging to 4,000 points in early-2021

FILE PHOTO: A screen that charts the S&P 500 is seen on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., April 27, 2017. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

LONDON (Reuters) - JPMorgan said on Monday it expected the S&P 500 index .SPX to hit 4,000 points by early 2021 and called Pfizer Inc's PFE.N COVID-19 vaccine update "one of the best backdrops for sustained gains in years."

“After a prolonged period of elevated risks (global trade war, COVID-19 pandemic, US election uncertainty, etc.), the outlook is significantly clearing up, especially with news of a highly effective COVID-19 vaccine,” the U.S. investment bank said in a note to clients.

The bank said it expected the U.S. equity index to hit about 4,500 by the end of 2021, up 25% from current levels. The index rose 3% to slightly above 3,600 points on Monday.

In a separate note, Citi said Pfizer’s experimental COVID-19 vaccine being 90% effective exceeded the most optimistic market expectations and that transport and leisure stocks have the most to gain from any vaccine.

European and U.S. airline stocks jumped 20% to 30% on Monday.

Citi said it favored Australian and UK equity markets due to their exposure to business sectors that outperform when nominal yields are rising.

“More than any fiscal spending package or central bank lending program, a healthcare solution to COVID has the greatest potential to restore economic activity to its full potential, lifting deeply-depressed ‘social-close’ industries,” said Jeffrey Sacks, Citi Private Bank’s EMEA Investment Strategist.

Citi said U.S. stocks may lag any vaccine-driven rallies in Europe or Asia due to their heavy exposure to the technology sector, which has done well during lockdowns and social restrictions.

UK bluechip index FTSE 100 .FTSE soared 4.7% while the S&P 500 rose 3% on Monday.

Reporting by Thyagaraju Adinarayan; editing by Sujata Rao and Richard Chang