(Reuters) - Deutsche Bank has raised its 2024 year-end S&P 500 target to 5,500, the highest among major brokerages, banking on strong corporate earnings to support equity valuations.

The brokerage previously expected the index to finish 2024 at 5,100 points. The new target, at the top end of its range of 5,100-5,500, is around 4% higher than the index's last close of 5,303.27.

Oppenheimer Asset Management had also predicted the index would end at 5,500.

"We see the earnings cycle having plenty of legs," Deutsche Bank strategists led by Binky Chadha said in a note on Friday.

"While all the growth may not materialize this year, we see market confidence in a continued recovery rising by year-end, supporting equity multiples."

Meanwhile, Morgan Stanley's Michael Wilson on Monday forecast the index would hit 5,400 by June 2025, compared with an earlier prediction of 4,500 through December this year.

Wilson also expects better earnings growth in the next two years, reflecting "healthy, mid-single-digit top-line growth in addition to margin expansion in both years as positive operating leverage resumes (particularly in 2025)".

The Deutsche Bank strategists raised their earnings per share (EPS) forecast for the S&P 500 companies to $258 from $250. If economic growth remains above trend, they expect EPS to rise to $271 in 2024.

The S&P 500 touched record-high levels in the past week on a lower-than-expected rise in a key inflation metric, while the Dow Jones closed above the 40,000 mark for the first time on Friday.

In February, Deutsche revised earlier predictions for the U.S. economy to say it no longer expects a recession this year.

(Reporting by Gokul Pisharody in Bengaluru; Editing by Devika Syamnath)