A trader works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S. ( Photographer: Michael Nagle/Bloomberg)

Go Short on American Stocks Says This $500 Billion Fund Firm

(Bloomberg) -- Investors should bet against U.S. equities because they’ll continue to lag behind emerging-market peers during the remainder of the year, according to AllianceBernstein LP.

Lofty expectations for earnings growth at American companies raise the risk of disappointment, said Vadim Zlotnikov, chief market strategist and co-head of multi-asset solutions at AllianceBernstein. As well as advising shorts on U.S. equities, his team initiated a bet that will pay off if the Russell 1000 Growth Index declines and the the Russell 1000 Value Index climbs.

Go Short on American Stocks Says This $500 Billion Fund Firm

AllianceBernstein, which manages $498 billion for clients, remains optimistic on global equities, favoring emerging market and European shares, and still prefers stocks to credit. The team maintained a number of trades from earlier this year, including:

  • Long Japan’s Topix index, short Japanese government bonds
  • Long value stocks in Europe, short MSCI EU ex-U.K. index
  • Long Latin American local-currency debt, short U.S. Treasuries

Despite AllianceBernstein’s concern about high expectations for corporate profits, earnings forecasts for U.S. companies are holding up well, a break from previous years where analysts are normally cutting estimates by this time of the year. With economic growth picking up in Europe and many emerging markets, American assets are losing some appeal as investors question the strength of the world’s largest economy. In Bank of America Corp.’s latest survey of money managers, 82 percent called the U.S. the most expensive market.

AllianceBernstein’s stance to short growth stocks runs contrary to Citigroup’s global equity strategy team. Veteran analyst Robert Buckland has said the pullback in stocks like technology in June doesn’t mean the party is over for some of this year’s best stock picks.

The views from AllianceBernstein were detailed in a June report led by Zlotnikov. The recommendation to short U.S. shares has an inception date of June 15, according to the note, which references the underlying gauge for the trade as being the S&P 500 Total Return Index.