Indicators such as valuations and open positions in the futures and options market suggest that the stock appreciation may have gone too far. Since the beginning of the year, the MSCI All-Country World has appreciated 1.4%, adding to the 24% gain achieved last year, which was the most accentuated since 2009.
"There are still many reasons for concern," wrote Andrew Lapthorne, head of Societe Generale's "quantitative research" unit. "Ratings are the biggest risk from now on."
According to Andrew Lapthorne, the estimated PER for growth companies in the United States has reached levels that over the past three decades have only been reached over eight months.
Analysts at Sundial Capital Research recently issued another warning: call options overwhelmingly outweighed put options on the US stock market this month.
"As a percentage of the total volume, speculative purchases last week reached an unprecedented level in the past 20 years, without having seen considerable volumes of protection strategies (against falling stocks) to compensate," said the president of Sundial Capital Research, Jason Goepfert. "Extremes can always get more extreme," wrote the expert. "Which doesn't mean it's a good bet."
JPMorgan Chase analysts also pointed out "potential vulnerabilities should negative shocks occur." Nikolaos Panigirtzoglou wrote this idea in a research note, where he also noted that the bank where he works remains optimistic about the stock market.
The speculative positions that are being taken on Wall Street by asset managers and leveraged funds "are at even higher levels than at the beginning of 2018," say JPMorgan Chase analysts, citing data from the Commodity Futures Trading Commission. In January 2018, the stock exchanges registered marked gains, but from February 8 to the end of that year the fall was 10%, with periods of strong volatility that led to the implosion of some products linked to the VIX ("fear" index, which measures market volatility).
In US private investors there are also signs of apprehension. The latest survey to measure market sentiment, carried out by the Association of Individual Investors, shows that pessimism among members about the direction of the stock market in the short term reached a maximum of six weeks.
Peter Berezin, chief global strategist at BCA Research, said on Friday that he went on to recommend a neutral position in the stock market for the next quarter, despite remaining positive within 12 months and recommending buy in the event of a devaluation above 5 % compared to current levels.
"A high 'bullish' sentiment, in the context of growing uncertainty in the outlook for global economic activity and fragile truce between the US and Iran, poses a short-term threat to risky assets," added Peter Berezin.
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