A rebound in global profits could push stocks even higher, despite the bond rout that is raising interest rates, investor Richard Bernstein said.
"We are in the process of global profitability recovering," the Richard Bernstein Advisors LLC chief executive officer told the Reuters Global Investment Outlook Summit in New York. "This is the very early stages."
Bernstein said S&P 500 profits could grow at mid-teen percentage rates in 2017. Analysts are forecasting 12.2 percent growth, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
"What happens when rates go up is you get a tug of war between rising rates and profit improvements," he said.
If rates win, stocks go down, he said, but if profits outperform, stocks rise.
"Our expectation is that the earnings side wins," Bernstein said.
Investors have pushed the S&P 500 up about 2 percent since Donald Trump's election as U.S. president on Nov. 8. The benchmark 10-year Treasury bond's yield is nearly 2.35 percent, up from 1.86 percent on Election Day.
But Bernstein said investors still had not come to support what he sees as one of the best bull markets in history.
"I would think right now it's more a one-night stand," he said. "I don't think you're seeing the lasting shifts in asset allocation that would suggest that people are really embracing the equity market."
Bernstein also sees profits moving up globally, leading him to build a fairly large position in emerging markets for the first time since he founded his company in 2009.
The MSCI Emerging Markets Index has fallen 6 percent since the election.
Bernstein started buying into emerging markets in the first half of the year.
"We think emerging markets are pretty attractive," he said.
Bernstein's company advises on more than $3 billion in assets.
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