February 8, 2017 / 2:21 PM / 3 years ago

BlackRock CEO Fink sees 'dark shadows' in financial markets

BlackRock Inc Chief Executive Officer Larry Fink is pictured at a business roundtable meeting of company leaders and U.S. Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney in Washington in this June 13, 2012 file photo. REUTERS/Jason Reed/Files

NEW YORK (Reuters) - BlackRock Chief Executive Larry Fink on Wednesday said the U.S. economy is in the midst of a slowdown and financial markets could see a significant setback, because of uncertainty over global trade and the Trump administration’s plan to cut taxes.

“I see a lot of dark shadows,” he said at an event hosted by Yahoo. “The markets are probably ahead of themselves.”

Fink, whose company manages $5.1 trillion in assets, said investors are caught up in the potential for a restructuring of U.S. tax policy, which may not take place until 2018.

But disruptions to trade are a possibility in the meantime, he said.

U.S. President Donald Trump has called for tax cuts as well as a wide set of changes to trade policy, including a renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement with Canada and Mexico.

“We’re living in a bipolar world right now,” Fink said. “In my conversations with CEOs in Europe and CEOs in the United States they may be very bullish about what may come but most business people are not investing today.”

Fink is the latest major figure to call for a dose of caution after Trump’s election touched off a rally in U.S. stocks. Bond investors Jeffrey Gundlach and Bill Gross are among those who have said the same in recent weeks.

While noting that the benchmark 10-year Treasury yield could fall below 2 percent or, conversely, rise above 4 percent, Fink said he sees a greater probability of rates falling. He added that he sees the U.S. Federal Reserve raising interest rates in June and possibly again once more in the year.

And he warned that there could be tension between the Fed’s dollar-boosting policies and those of Trump as a stronger dollar could make it harder to revive export-dependent manufacturers.

Reporting by Trevor Hunnicutt; Editing by Alden Bentley and Paul Simao

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