March 12, 2020 / 11:14 AM / 17 days ago

UBS Wealth cuts emerging market stocks bet

March 12 (Reuters) - UBS Wealth Management recommended cashing in some of its bet on developing world equities on Thursday, telling clients the sell-off in mainstream euro zone markets had made stocks there a stronger bet for the immediate future.

The decision follows the out-performance of emerging market stocks relative to U.S. and eurozone peers since global equity markets peaked around the middle of February, according to strategists from the world’s largest wealth manager.

Chief Investment Officer Mark Haefele said emerging markets’ out-performance was due to the rapid containment efforts of the coronavirus by Asian governments, notably in China, at a time when the flu-like disease has been rapidly spreading in Europe and the United States.

“From here, we are less confident in emerging markets’ relative out-performance, and so we have reduced the size of our overweight position,” Haefele wrote in a client note.

Emerging market stocks and currencies fell further on Thursday, with some Asian bourses hitting circuit breakers. MSCI’s emerging market stocks index has shed about 18.8% in the year to date, more than wiping out all of last year’s gains. (Reporting by Aaron Saldanha in Bengaluru; Editing by Patrick Graham)

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