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It's Risk On for Guggenheim's Minerd After Stocks Hit Record

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(Bloomberg) -- Scott Minerd, who manages $250 billion for Guggenheim Partners, says U.S. stocks may rally as much as 15% in the rest of the year and emerging market assets may do even better, after markets brushed off scares from China's economy, oil and Britain's vote to leave the European Union.

Either the U.S. economy will perk up and lead a global recovery, or economic weakness in Europe and Japan will prompt more support from central banks, giving stocks and bonds a shot in the arm, according to Minerd. While a continued slowdown is the more likely scenario, there's little chance of a catastrophic meltdown, he said.

"Risk assets will do well," Minerd, Guggenheim's chief investment officer, said during an interview at his oceanfront offices in Santa Monica, California. "We won't have a black swan event."

U.S. stocks have hit record highs as investors bet on continued central bank stimulus. Some bond managers, including Janus Capital Group's Bill Gross and TCW Group's Tad Rivelle, have warned that low- or negative-interest rate policies could imperil markets, and that risk assets have little room to rise further.

Gross said to expect at best a ceiling on risk asset prices such as stocks, high-yield bonds, private equity and real estate and at worst "minus signs at year's end that force investors to abandon hope." Rivelle, who oversees $150 billion in U.S. fixed income at TCW Group, warned that "risk markets are priced in violent disagreement to the sovereign debt markets," which he said in a newsletter last week "is scary."


Minerd shares the concerns that negative rates are leading to more savings rather than consumer spending, but said he believes policy makers will come up with new tools, such as a fiscal stimulus or so-called helicopter money, to prop up markets.

His largest fund, the $3.3 billion Guggenheim Total Return Bond Fund, has returned an average 5.8% over the past three years, outperforming 98% of peers, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. About 75% of the money Minerd oversees is in institutional funds or separate accounts, with the balance in mutual funds and ETFs.

Not all of Minerd's market calls have been accurate. In January, he predicted the S&P 500 would fall to 1,650 in the first quarter. It hit a 2016 low of 1,829 on Feb. 11 before climbing to this week's high. The rebound in oil prices, stabilization in China and the Federal Reserve decision to delay rate increases all fed into a change in market direction.

Now he expects the Standard & Poor's 500, which is up more than 6% this year and reached a record Wednesday, to climb 10% to 15% more by the end of 2016.

An even better bet for investors than stocks is emerging market assets, including debt and equity, led by Chile, Russia and Indonesia, he said. He recommended Chile because of expected demand from China for more copper. Russia would benefit from a rebound he expects in oil prices. Indonesia is exploring supply-side economic reforms that may boost the island nation's economy.

Investors should steer clear of Turkey because of the turmoil there, and stay away from China, where government intervention manipulates markets, Minerd said.

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