Morgan Stanley’s optimistic view of the economy isn’t keeping it from warning about a looming correction in the U.S. stock market. “The issue is that the markets are priced for perfection and vulnerable, especially since there hasn’t been a correction greater than 10% since the March 2020 low,” said Lisa Shalett, chief investment officer of Morgan Stanley Wealth Management, in a note Tuesday. The bank’s global investment committee expects a stock-market pullback of 10% to 15% before the end of the year, she wrote.
“The strength of major U.S. equity indexes during August and the first few days of September, pushing to yet more daily and consecutive new highs in the face of concerning developments, is no longer constructive in the spirit of ‘climbing a wall of worry,’” said Shalett. “Consider taking profits in index funds,” she said, as stock benchmarks have dismissed “resurgent COVID-19 hospitalizations, plummeting consumer confidence, higher interest rates and significant geopolitical shifts.”
She suggested rebalancing investment portfolios toward “high-quality cyclicals,” particularly stocks in the financial sector, while seeking “consistent dividend-payers in consumer services, consumer staples and health care.”