Bank of America Merrill Lynch thinks the hottest area of the global stock market has much higher to climb.
Perhaps surprisingly, it's not the S&P 500, even though the benchmark US index has shown some serious strength, climbing 12% this year.
The bank's analysts are talking about Asian emerging-market equities, which have put the US to shame, surging a whopping 33% over the same period. Based on comparisons to past bull-market stretches, the group has historically risen roughly 230% during expansion periods that last 42 months on average, according to BAML data.
The firm says that Asian EM stocks — which have exploded by 60% since the start of 2016, outperforming global equities by 27% — could continue to thrive until they're faced with a recession or with valuations that extend to a price-to-book ratio of three times.
"We think a substantial overweight in Asia/EM equities is warranted," Ajay Kapur, BAML's Asia Pacific equity and global emerging-markets strategist wrote in a recent client note. "We recommend investors to raise exposure if they haven't already. Let the bull market do its job."
So what countries is Kapur referring to specifically? He says investors should be overweight Korea, China, Taiwan, and Turkey, in decreasing order of confidence.
For full context around BAML's call, here's its analysis of past Asian EM bull markets:
(Bank of America Merrill Lynch)
More From Business Insider