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NEW YORK Given the fragile state of the global economy and brewing geopolitical risks, investors should be underweight equities while favoring "selected commodities" such as gold and oil, Mohamed El-Erian, CEO and co-chief investment officer of bond fund giant PIMCO, told CNBC on Tuesday.
El-Erian also said that bond investors should "concentrate exposures seven years and within because that's what the Fed can secure in terms of the yield curve." He added that investors should be "careful of the long end of the yield curve, which is more vulnerable."
With the Standard & Poor's 500 index up 6.6 percent this year, investors have grown cautious ahead of the outcome of discussions on a bailout package for Greece that would help the country avoid a chaotic default.
Aside from Greece, investors have also been keeping close eye on Iran. Tension with the West rose last month when the United States and the European Union targeted Iranian oil exports in their efforts to halt Tehran's suspected quest for an atomic bomb.
Regarding positive U.S. economic data, El-Erian said it was too premature to "declare victory" after the Labor Department's latest employment data, which showed 243,000 jobs created in January, because of the "headwinds" of geopolitical risk in Iran and European debt issues.
El-Erian contrasted the situation in Europe from the Lehman Brothers collapse in 2008, and said that while central banks "have become much more proactive" with refinancing operations, the current economy may not be as prepared for economic shock. Regarding the "Lehman moment," El-Erian said, "If you define it as the economy being able to take the shock, that's in fact a higher risk because we are in a worse place than we were in '08."
(Reporting by Sam Forgione; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and W Sion)