Markets

'People are underinvested in equities' — BlackRock CEO Larry Fink says playing it too safe is a mistake

Key Points
  • The co-founder of the world's largest money manager advises investors to stay invested in stocks, saying that taking risk off the table is a mistake.
  • U.S. equities lead the rest of the world because "we deserve it," says Fink.
  • The U.S. stock market should move higher from the near-record levels, he predicts.
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BlackRock CEO: The US has a better equity culture than any other country

The U.S. stock market should move higher from near-record current levels, BlackRock Chairman and CEO Larry Fink told CNBC on Friday.

Fink said many of his clients and hedge funds are taking risk off the table. However, he believes such a move is a mistake, and he advised investors to stay invested in stocks.

"People are underinvested in equities ... with the change of tone of central bank behavior and you're starting to see corporate earnings coming in pretty well," he explained. "We are still constructive on the world."

U.S. equities will lead because "we deserve it," Fink added on "Squawk Box," claiming America has "better companies" and the U.S. did "more fiscal policy than other countries" instead of just relying on monetary policy.

Shortly before Fink's CNBC appearance, BlackRock reported quarterly earnings that missed estimates, as investment advisory and securities lending revenue fell and costs rose.

However, the company ended the quarter with $6.8 trillion in assets under management. That's up from $6.3 trillion a year earlier.

Fink, co-founder of the world's largest money manager, said on CNBC in mid-April that he thought the global stock rally had further to run.

However, the S&P 500 ended up tanking in May, dropping about 6.6% for the month and breaking a four-month winning streak as U.S. trade talks fell apart with China.

June roared back as the Federal Reserve opened the door for easier monetary policy, with the S&P 500 jumping nearly 7% for its best June performance since 1955.

The stock comeback continued in July as expectations for a Fed rate cut mount at the central bank's July 30-31 meeting. The S&P 500 was less than 1% away from last week's record close.

The markets feel a July Fed rate cut is a lock, with odds 0.25% reduction at about 55% and the chance for a more aggressive 0.5% cut at about 45%.

Fink said on CNBC on Friday he believes the Fed will be conservative, calling central bankers "incrementalists," preferring several 0.25% cuts over fewer bigger moves.

In a MarketWatch interview, Mike Wilson, chief investment officer at Morgan Stanley, said, "We're not looking for the bottom to fallout like last year, but I do expect a 10% correction in the next three months."

Wilson's year-end price target for the S&P 500 is 2,750 — about 8% lower than Thursday's close and tied with Barclays' Maneesh Deshpande among the Wall Street strategists surveyed by CNBC.

To be fair, Wilson has been rather bearish on stocks since last fall, before the bottom dropped out of the market in the final months of the year. The S&P 500 fell more than 6% in 2018, in the worst yearly performance in a decade.

But, so far in 2019, the S&P 500 is up nearly 20%.

— Reuters contributed to this report.

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Key Points
  • Companies aren't waiting for the U.S.-China trade war to be resolved, says the head of the world's biggest money manager.
  • "The trend in China continues to be downward," says BlackRock CEO Larry Fink. "China knows they need to find ways to stimulate more of their domestic economy."