U.S. equities face an ironic headwind that will lead them to underperform their global peers next year -- signs of an economic recovery, Credit Suisse said.
U.S. growth prospects are upbeat, the bank said in a note. It forecasts 2014 growth of 2.6 percent in gross domestic product (GDP), with the possibility of surprising on the upside from factors including a possible pick up in government spending, a housing recovery and a potential rise in corporate spending.
These growth forecasts are precisely why it has an underweight call on U.S. stocks.
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"The U.S. equity market is a defensive market," due to the country's high level of corporate and macro policy flexibility, including the relative ease with which companies can lay off workers in a downturn, Credit Suisse said. For that reason, "the U.S. tends to underperform when global growth accelerates."
Non-financial U.S. stocks are trading at a 47 percent premium to global markets on a price-to-book basis, a near-12-year high and well above the historical average of around 30 percent, the bank said.
"This suggests the U.S. market is still trading on a relative 'safe haven' premium. We expect this premium to be priced out of U.S. equities as macro uncertainty continues to fall," it said.
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