“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.