‘We have a risk of a melt-up, not a meltdown here.’
Chief Exeuctive Larry Fink says that with stocks knocking on the door of records, a surge to the upside appears more likely than a market collapse. That is because so many investors still have lots of cash to put to work, the head of the world’s largest asset manager told CNBC in a Tuesday interview.
“Despite where the markets are in equities, we have not seen money being put to work,” Fink said. “We have record amounts of money in cash.”
A meltup is often defined as a sharp and unexpected rise in the price of an asset class, driven largely by a stampede of investors who are more concerned about missing out on a big up move than by improving market fundamentals. Melt-ups are often followed by sharp market setbacks.
After a steep fourth-quarter selloff that pushed the S&P 500
and the Dow Jones Industrial Average
into corrections but stopped just short of a bear market — defined as a 20% drop from a recent peak — stocks have roared back. For the year to date, the S&P 500 is up 15.9% and stands less than 1% below its all-time closing high of 2,930.75 set Sept. 20.
Data from Lipper last week showed that U.S. equity funds saw $4.3 billion in inflows through the week ended April 10, but that followed a $19.7 billion outflow from the end of last year through April 3.
The stock-market rally so far this year has been partly attributed to a dovish shift by the Federal Reserve, which abruptly paused its policy tightening effort in January to adopt a wait-and-see approach after delivering four rate increases in 2018. Fed policy makers have signaled they expect no rate rises this year. Meanwhile, the European Central Bank, which ended its bond-buying program at the end of last year, introduced a new round of bank stimulus in March in the face of renewed economic sluggishness.
Fink said the dovishness of central bankers creates a shortage of “good assets,” which could serve as a trigger for a global melt-up in equity prices.
BlackRock on Tuesday reported a fall in first-quarter profit due to a price-war that continues to ripple across the asset-management industry. Total assets under management rebounded to more than $6 trillion after slipping at the end of 2018.