UBS Tells Wealthy Clients to `Take Some Profit' on Global Stocks

UBS Group AG, the world’s largest wealth manager, told clients worldwide to take some profit on their stocks as rising values make it more difficult to generate “significant” further gains.

“Although we continue to believe that global stocks can grind higher, underpinned by robust economic growth and increasing earnings, rising valuations are reducing the possibility of significant further upside,” Mark Haefele, chief investment officer at UBS Wealth Management, said in a note to clients. Stocks this year have climbed 15 percent globally, about twice UBS’s expected long-term return, he said.

"We have just taken down slightly our global equity overweight," UBS CIO Mark Haefele says.

Source: Bloomberg

While some investors are concerned that global economy must be headed for a downturn, UBS sees little recession risk currently. The comments come as markets focus on monetary-policy decisions that could affect stock prices, as well as speeches by Federal Reserve officials that may offer further clues about U.S. interest rate policy.

Credit Suisse Group AG, the world’s sixth-largest wealth manager, advised clients in August to take a pause from investing in stocks, adding that “valuations seem full."

Though prices will continue to rise, it will be at a slower rate, Haefele said. Traditional catalysts for a recession such as government austerity, sharply higher rates, oil price spikes or another credit crunch look unlikely to emerge over the next six months.

"In a low-interest-rate world, the valuations are not so excessive, leverage is not so high that we see an unsustainable situation at the moment," Haefele said in an interview on Bloomberg TV on Friday.

— With assistance by Manus Cranny

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