Citi, Goldman on bear market rally, quality tech sectors
As stocks appear to stage a bounce back, Wall Street has been hotly debating whether the market has truly bottomed or if it’s simply a bear market rally. Analysts from Goldman Sachs and Citi aren’t optimistic, telling CNBC that the rally may not last. “I think … we’re not out of the woods yet,” Caesar Maasry, head of emerging markets cross-asset strategy at Goldman Sachs, told CNBC’s “Squawk Box Asia” on Tuesday. “We think [the rally] may be short-lived.” “We’re in the camp of thinking that it was a bear market rally and the reason for that is really coming off the lows when we haven’t had a recession,” Kristen Bitterly, head of North America investments at Citi Global Wealth Management, told CNBC on Wednesday. “It is not a recessionary environment,” she said, referring to recent data on US jobs and gross domestic product. After being in a bear market for much of the first half of this year, US stocks rallied in July. The S & P 500 climbed for three straight weeks and hit its highest level since early May on Wednesday. So how should investors position themselves during this time? Citi’s Bitterly says to expect more volatility. ‘Quality ‘ tech areas “Pullbacks create opportunities, as does volatility,” Bitterly told CNBC. “For those sitting on the sidelines, volatility creates opportunities to build positions at ideal entry points in addition to generating above market yield (to combat inflation).” She said there are opportunities in some “quality” tech areas, such as cybersecurity. Investors can buy such stocks if they drop to about 10% below what they are currently trading at, she said. At that entry point, investors could enjoy high single-digit or low double-digit yields, according to Bitterly. “These opportunities do not exist in low volatility markets,” she told CNBC. “We like using volatility as a way of building positions in our favorite long-term sectors and as a very effective tool to bridge the gap with solutions that work in both scenarios of resilience versus recession,” Bitterly said. ‘Boring is best’ Bitterly said it’s not simply a matter of going for “growth over value,” and “not an all or none” situation when it comes to tech stocks. Growth stocks, such as tech, have lost favor among investors for much of this year as they rotated into value stocks on macro risks. However, growth shares have bounced back during the recent rally. She added that having balanced exposure and going into quality stocks in this market is important. Quality companies can be defined as having stable performance – strong balance sheets, modest debt, and resilient profitability. “We are focused on areas of the market where you’re seeing consistent earnings growth, very strong leadership, strong balance sheets, and the ability to actually withstand what we could see as continued tightening financial conditions,” Bitterly told CNBC. “Boring is best and hypergrowth, unprofitable, highly leveraged companies will create some challenges,” she added. Stock picks Citi, in a separate note in early August, said investors should have a focus on beaten-up names, as it expects a “fragile risk rally.” It said these oversold names can enable investors to ride out the volatility: Meta, Disney, Amazon, Target and Autodesk.
As stocks appear to stage a bounce back, Wall Street has been hotly debating whether the market has truly bottomed or if it’s simply a bear market rally. Analysts from Goldman Sachs and Citi aren’t optimistic, telling CNBC that the rally may not last. “I think … we’re not out of the woods yet,” Caesar…
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