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Goldman and BlackRock sour on stocks as recession risk rises

Flagging rising real yields as a major headwind, Goldman strategists cut equities to underweight in the US investment bank’s global allocation over the next three months while staying overweight cash.

September 27, 2022 / 12:09 PM IST
Goldman Sachs

Goldman Sachs

Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and BlackRock Inc. are turning more bearish on equities for the short term, warning that markets are yet to price in the risk of a global recession.

Flagging rising real yields as a major headwind, Goldman strategists cut equities to underweight in the US investment bank’s global allocation over the next three months while staying overweight cash. BlackRock is advising investors to “shun most stocks,” adding that it is tactically underweight developed-market shares and prefers credit in the short term.

MSCI World members have lost trillions of dollars in September

“Current levels of equity valuations may not fully reflect related risks and might have to decline further to reach a market trough,” Goldman strategists including Christian Mueller-Glissmann wrote in a note Monday. Goldman’s market-implied recession probability has risen to above 40% following the recent bond sell-off, “which historically has indicated elevated equity drawdown risk,” they wrote.

Similar concerns are being echoed by Morgan Stanley and JPMorgan Asset Management after central bankers from the US to Europe touted their resolve to fight inflation, sending global stocks into a free fall over the past few days. Little respite seems to be in sight even as the MSCI World Index’s members have lost more than $8 trillion in value since a mid-September peak amid a surge in US yields and the dollar.

 

“We don’t see a ‘soft landing’” where inflation returns to target quickly without crushing activity, BlackRock Investment Institute strategists including Jean Boivin and Wei Li wrote in a note Monday. “That means more volatility and pressure on risk assets.”

TINA to TARA

As stock market volatility continues to rise, JPMorgan Asset is also sticking to its underweight on equities heading into the fourth quarter. The firm ‘strongly’ favors investment-grade credit over high yield, Sylvia Sheng, global multi-asset strategist, wrote Tuesday, anticipating sluggish growth in the US and recession in Europe over the next 12 months.

A global recession probability model by Ned Davis Research recently rose above 98%, triggering a “severe” recession signal. The only other times it has been that high was during previous acute downturns, such as in 2020 and 2008-2009, according to the firm.

Turning Defensive

The days of the TINA -- There Is No Alternative -- mantra for stocks are over, the Goldman strategists wrote. While falling yields had burnished the appeal of equities since the global financial crisis, “investors are now facing TARA (There Are Reasonable Alternatives) with bonds appearing more attractive,” they wrote.

Goldman’s bearish take comes after its US strategists slashed their year-end target for the S&P 500 Index to 3,600 from 4,300 last week. Similarly, Europe strategists including Sharon Bell have reduced targets for regional equity gauges, downgrading their 2023 earnings-per-share growth forecast for the Stoxx Europe 600 Index to -10% from zero.

Both the S&P 500 and Stoxx Europe 600 ended Monday’s session at their lowest levels since December 2020.

“This bear market has not yet reached a trough,” Bell and her colleagues wrote about European stocks in a separate note Monday.
Bloomberg
first published: Sep 27, 2022 12:09 pm