Stocks Will Live, but ‘Worship’ of Them Is Dead: Gross

Bill Gross, co-chief investment officer of Pacific Investment Management Co. (PIMCO)
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Bill Gross, co-chief investment officer of Pacific Investment Management Co. (PIMCO)

Bill Gross — reiterating his now-famous critique of equities — told CNBC that while stocks are still likely to return more than most other asset classes, they would occupy a less cherished — and lucrative — place in investors’ portfolios.

Gross, founder and Co-Chief Investment Officer of Pimco, manager of the world’s largest bond fund, toldCNBC’s “Closing Bell”that a “30-, 40-, 50-year-old cult” of equities returning double-digits was nearing an end.

Investors, especially the “baby boomers” born after World War II, should brace themselves for lower returns. He differentiated between stocks as an asset class, and the unrealistic expectations some investors have about their potential for returns, which he called a “cult.”

“Equities have reached a dead end in terms of significant appreciation,” Gross said. “Equities are still alive, but the cult of equities is dying.”

He said investors may want to search for investments other than in stocks and bonds, such as land or other assets.

Gross demurred when asked to handicap the chances of Republican presidential contender Mitt Romney and his running mate, Minnesota Congressman Paul Ryan.

However, he suggested the possibility of a new U.S. president could prompt a changing of the guard at the Federal Reserve (explain this) in 2014. That could mean more of a "hard money" monetary policy than that currently embraced by Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke, he added.

“Ultimately that’s good for bondholders, but in the short run that means higher interest rates,” Gross said.