In February of 2013, Nouriel Roubini, New York University professor and chairman of Roubini Global Economics, told Yahoo Finance that the U.S. was about to enter an asset bubble that would be “bigger than the one we had in 2003-06.” This was a huge departure for Roubini whose typically negative economic outlook earned him the affectionate nickname, Dr. Doom. Roubini’s general outlook was correct. Since February of 2013, the S&P 500 (^GSPC) has increased by nearly 39%.
But bubbles burst. So will we continue to see double digit returns in 2015? We’re currently in the mid-late stretch of this boom, “so next year we’ll see economic growth and easy money. This frothiness that we’ve seen in financial markets is likely to continue from equities to credit to housing,” says Roubini. He predicts an eventual crash, but not for at least a few years. He believes that valuations in some markets are already stretched and will continue to stretch until seeing a shakeout around two years down the line, in 2016.
Roubini is particularly worried about the increase in issuance of junk bonds. Low interest rates and an increased thirst for high-risk speculation have led to the junk bond market to being bigger than it ever has been. He also sees equities as a potential list, the P/E ratio is slightly above average but he thinks that tech and social media sector valuations are very stretched. “Throughout the world, we have low growth, low inflation and easy money. And where is liquidity going? Not in real credit or to the real economy, it’s leading to asset deflation,” he says.
For the average investor, Roubini says, “Next year you might not want to be overweight in U.S. equities. There are other parts of the world that can do better. Japan with its easy yen,” for example. Roubini also warns to stay away from the Eurozone and China. “At this point, I would be neutral or underweight U.S. equities compared to other markets,” he reconfirms.
Roubini’s best bets for 2015 are an increase in strength for the U.S. dollar and to avoid commodities like copper that are linked in China.