While the S & P 500 has more doubled since hitting its pandemic low in March 2020, UBS thinks stock values are “well supported.” UBS global wealth management chief Mark Haefele expects the S & P 500 will rise to around 5,300 this year. His forecast implies 5.6% upside from current levels. The benchmark index was trading above the 5,000 level on Friday , after first breaching the mark just ahead of Thursday’s close. Stocks have benefited from stronger-than-expected corporate earnings and economic data as inflation continues to decline. With the index looking to log a 1% gain this week, it’s on pace for five-straight positive weeks. Haefele said stocks could rise further in the event of a “Goldilocks” economic outcome, where the U.S. economy remains solid while inflation continues to fall, allowing the central bank to cut interest rates. “We believe this would be a particularly positive outcome for small-cap stocks, which benefit more from Fed easing given their greater reliance on floating-rate debt,” he said. While Haefele’s base case calls for the U.S. to achieve a soft economic landing with the S & P 500 ending the year around recent levels, the current economic conditions are supporting his bull case, he said. UBS pointed to a strong fourth-quarter earnings season as an additional catalyst supporting his bull case, led by the continued prominence of tech stocks and investor interest in artificial intelligence. Haefele called out economic data such as last week’s January payrolls report , which showed the labor market has remained strong, and a GDP report that showed annualized growth of 3.3% , which is higher than the 2% consensus forecast. Consumer spending also has been holding up amid higher prices — though inflation is easing. On Friday, the Labor Department released an update to the consumer price index that painted a more upbeat picture for December inflation. Prices for a number of common goods rose less than had been originally reported.