The investment bank lowered its year-end forecast for the broad S&P 500 to 2,000 from 2,100. That equates to a 3% year-over-year drop. Though it expects the index to rise to 2,100 by the end of 2016.
"Slower economic growth in the U.S. and China and a lower oil price than we previously assumed
translate into a reduced profit forecast and a lower trajectory for U.S. stocks," the analysts wrote in a Tuesday note.
But that's still a bullish call, given today's levels.
"One of the reasons why we could see a year-end rally is because the biggest buyers of stocks are the companies themselves," said Kevin Kelly, chief investment officer of Greenwich, Conn.-based Recon Capital Partners. "Heading into this earnings season, they haven't been able to buy their own stocks, so they're going to throw in the kitchen sink -- the market is volatile -- and buy their own stock going into the end of the year."
Not to mention the "Santa Claus" rally that tends to show up during the last week of the year, largely driven by institutional investors.
Kelly agrees with Goldman's rosy 2016 forecast. "With the S&P 500, you're talking about the top names across the globe that have the best balance sheets and these names are a better alternative in a low interest rate environment."
He also expects some of the major S&P 500 companies to make overseas acquisitions next year that could boost earnings.
While the markets may be headed higher -- some 6.6% higher, if Goldman's forecasts are correct -- experts warn of volatility ahead.
As for stocks, Kelly is a fan of sticking to names you know.
"Facebook (FB) - Get Report is a great name," Kelly said. "It's been beaten down, but has still had a great run for the year and is irreplaceable. They're trading at 24 times next year's earnings and are doing great with Instagram." Facebook shares are up 12.7% year to date.