Now is not the time to sell stocks, JP Morgan strategist says

Pedestrians walk in front of an electronic stocks indicator showing the numbers on the Tokyo Stock Exchange in the window of a securities company in Tokyo on Nov. 16, 2017.

Toshifumi Kitamura | AFP | Getty Images

Pedestrians walk in front of an electronic stocks indicator showing the numbers on the Tokyo Stock Exchange in the window of a securities company in Tokyo on Nov. 16, 2017.

Global investors should not be put off by current equity market valuations and now is not the time to “de-risk” portfolios, according to one global market strategist.

“Despite the strong rally, valuations have not changed much since the start of 2017 in Europe, U.K. and Japan, as earnings have grown strongly,” Mike Bell, global market strategist at J.P. Morgan Asset Management, said in a new report Tuesday.

“It is only emerging markets and the U.S. which have seen valuations creep higher as share prices rose by more than earnings expectations. With emerging market valuations starting from a low base, only U.S. valuations look somewhat expensive compared with their long-run average,” he added.

In the eyes of J.P. Morgan, a healthier U.S. labor market; easy credit conditions in Europe and data indicating further equity price gains in 2018 support the idea that there’s further room to run in the stock market.

However, some analysts do not agree with this assessment. Peter Toogood, chief information officer at Embark Group, told CNBC last week that in the current market conditions, there is little on offer that’s interesting.

“Bonds are insane and fixed, equities are on highs that don’t make sense … The only diversifier is gold and cash, that’s the only thing left, because everything is expensive, period,” Toogood said. Also, Sonja Laud, head of equity at Fidelity International, told CNBC that “there’s not a lot left” for those seeking to make returns in the short term.

“Am I willing to go for the last percentage points or do I much more enter the camp of protecting the downside? That’s a very interesting question,” she said.

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