BlackRock chief investment strategist Russ Koesterich said the equity bull market has been “spectacular” with global equities growing 150 per cent since 2009, but as it enters its seventh year investors are questioning how much longer it can last.
“It is never a good idea to be the last one to leave a party. With the bull market entering its seventh year, investors are rightly nervous about whether or not it’s time to find the exit,” Mr Koesterich said.
Mr Koesterich pointed out that behind much of the anxiety over markets is the fact that stocks are expensive.
“Value is always somewhat ambiguous, but most metrics suggest that few segments, outside of select emerging markets and energy companies, are particularly cheap,” Mr Koesterich said.
“For much of the bull market, but particularly over the past three years, gains in most developed equity markets have been partially driven by investors willing to pay ever more for a dollar of earnings.
“Quantitative easing (QE) in the United States and the promise of QE in Europe have led to a prolonged period of multiple expansion in these markets,” he said.
Mr Koesterich also said while stagnation in emerging markets has left valuations at more reasonable levels, developed markets as a whole now trade above their long-term average.
“Most countries are currently trading at a premium to their 10-year average valuation,” he said.
“With the noticeable exception of Russia – the undisputed bargain in global equity markets – few markets outside of Asia are trading at a discount to their historical norms.
“Asia does stand out as the region with the most markets trading below their respective 10-year average valuations,” Mr Koesterich said.
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