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Predictions from market experts for 2014

By KEN SWEET
AP Market Writer

NEW YORK (AP) - It is an understatement to say stock market investors had a good year in 2013. The Standard & Poor's 500 index soared 29 percent, its best year since 1997. Including dividends, it gained 32 percent.

What lies ahead after this historic year? The AP asked leading market analysts and investment managers where they see the Standard & Poor's 500 index winding up by the end of 2014 and why. The index closed at 1,842 Thursday, with three trading days left in the year.

CITIGROUP

Year-end target: 1,900.

Reasoning: Modest improvement in the economy and better company earnings. Enticed by higher returns, investors will move some cash from bonds back into stocks.

BANK OF AMERICA MERRILL LYNCH

Year-end target: 2,000.

Reasoning: With the Federal Reserve likely to end its bond-buying program, bonds face a tough year. In stocks, the focus will be large multinational companies that can benefit from an improving global economy.

GOLDMAN SACHS

Year-end target: 1900.

Reasoning: The rally of 2013 cannot continue into 2014. Stocks are no longer cheap. Investors are paying more than $16 for every $1 of earnings, versus about $14 at the beginning of 2012. Stocks will keep rising, but more modestly, Goldman analysts say.

BARCLAYS CAPITAL

Year-end target: 1,900.

Reasoning: The Fed pulling out of its stimulus program will lessen the support for U.S. stocks over the next year. Investors should focus on corporate earnings, as well as the modestly improving economy.

WELLS FARGO SECURITIES

Year-end target: 1850-1900.

Reasoning: The stock market will trend higher next year, but the returns are unlikely to repeat the gains of 2013. Another round of budget battles between the White House and Congress as well as a new Fed chairwoman will likely impact the market's growth.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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