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JPMorgan says it’s finally time to buy stocks despite trade woes

The Trump administration slapped tariffs on roughly $110 billion in Chinese imports on Sunday.

Sep 02, 2019, 06.16 PM IST
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By Ksenia Galouchko

Now is finally the time to buy risk assets, with global stocks set to advance into the year-end, strategists at JPMorgan Chase & Co. said.

Positive technical indicators and monetary easing will likely outweigh the uncertainty of the U.S.-China trade war and the “wild card” of developments in tariff negotiations, according to JPMorgan.

After August’s sell-off, the strategists last week signaled that the time to buy stocks was approaching, and today finally acted on their impulse. JPMorgan joins others on the sell-side like Bank of America Merrill Lynch, which said on Friday it’s bullish on risk assets, including equities, for 2019.


“We now advise to add risk back again, tactical indicators have improved,” JPMorgan strategists led by Mislav Matejka said in a note to clients. “Admittedly, the next trade move is the wild card to all of this, but we think that the hurdle rate for any positive development is quite low now.”

The MSCI World Index tumbled 2.2% last month, posting the second monthly decline of this year, as an escalation in the U.S.-China trade spat sent traders into a profit-taking mode. The Trump administration slapped tariffs on roughly $110 billion in Chinese imports on Sunday, signaling that the conflict is far from over.

JPMorgan’s bullish view contrasts with that of many major buy-side investors. UBS Global Wealth Management last week went underweight on equities for the first time since the euro-area crisis while Legal & General and Manulife Investment Management have taken profit on their risk assets and entered a wait-and-see mode.

Here are some of the potential global equity drivers cited by JPMorgan analysts:
  • U.S. Federal Reserve is easing, but high-yield spreads or jobless claims aren’t spiking
  • Global activity momentum is likely to improve going into the end of 2019
  • Profit margins in the second half could surprise positively
  • Equity valuations on a price-to-earnings basis are “undemanding”
  • Investor positioning remains defensive without inflows, which is a contrarian bullish signal
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