Europe Economy

Bull Market Still Unlikely: Chief Strategist

Sharp positive moves in stock markets are not necessarily a sign of strength and are unlikely to prompt a bull market in the current volatile environment, Christian Gattiker, chief strategist at Julius Baer, told CNBC Tuesday.

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"In general if you see markets behaving like that, it seems to be difficult to find the right price and that shows you how high the uncertainty is, so last week we had a sell-off rebound and this week the same seems to be happening," Gattiker said.

He added that a study of Germany's DAX over the last decade showed that greater than 3 percent jumps in equities was often confirmation of a difficult market.

However, Gattiker added that despite major risks ahead, there's still value to be found in volatile markets, though investors remain concerned about another significant downturn.

"There is certainly value around, usually I compare it with a rubber band that you draw down and the more you draw it down, the more potential the rebound could be," he explained.

"The question is will this rubber band hold? There we are talking especially about the (banks), and that's what the market is worried about: that we have another ... break down of the financial system, as we had three years ago," he added.

US bank Lehman Brothers collapsed in 2008, prompting a mass sell-off of bank shares and widespread turmoil in the banking systems of both the United States and Europe.

Russia Problematic

Julius Baer recently reduced its exposure to Russian stocks, citing some concerns over the Russian economy, particularly a lack of diversity and over-reliance on the energy sector.

"The more the story goes, the more it is about energy prices," Gattiker said. "You know, ten years ago there was still some hope of a domestic-driven growth model, so we didn't see these high correlations, these high fluctuations that were in sync with energy prices. That's over, it seems like the global financial community is treating Russia as an oil proxy and ... on that basis we reduced our exposure to Russian equities most recently. " 

Gattiker said corporate bonds might bring good returns for investors looking for new investments.

"This is the old race for yields, and at this stage it's quite difficult to find a real diversifier that yields some decent returns. You might look into good quality corporate bonds, maybe also short duration given the potential inflationary risk down the road, but some corporate bond portfolios might be quite a strong addition in terms of yields in this zero-interest-rate policy environment," he said.