Stocks won’t move higher until US sees a vaccine and a return to ‘more normal’ life, the world’s largest wealth manager says

Reuters/Lucas Jackson

  • Mark Haefele of UBS told CNBC on Tuesday that the market won’t move higher until the nation enters a “more normal” stage of life where a vaccine against the coronavirus is available. 
  • The global wealth management chief investment officer said that he expects volatility through the US election because the pathway to the “more normal” may include setbacks if there’s an uptick in coronavirus cases. 
  • “We would know a lot more if we got the stimulus, or the vaccine, or the Fed to make a move,” Haefele said.
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Mark Haefele, UBS Global Wealth Management chief investment officer, told CNBC on Tuesday that the world is facing a “new normal” way of life, but the market won’t be able to move higher until we get to the “more normal stage.”

The “new normal” is a more digital world, with more deficit stimulus, greener initiatives, and more “local” focus, said Haefele. But the “more normal stage” will involve a return to life more similar to the world before the pandemic. A COVID-19 vaccine is essential for this stage, he added.

“To move higher, we need the more normal, which is the vaccine coming online and people getting a little more normal in their lives and maybe a little bit more normal around the US political environment,” Haefele said. 

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The global investment chief said that he does not know the sequence of how the “more normal” stage will progress. There may be an uptick in cases and further restrictions on businesses, as in the UK.  Because of that, he expects volatility in the markets through the US election. 

He added that without further fiscal stimulus from Congress, it’s difficult for him to predict what will happen in the markets in the beginning of next year. The Fed is in a “dilemma” because it needs to see the outcome of the next fiscal plan before making its next decision. 

“We would know a lot more if we got the stimulus, or the vaccine, or the Fed to make a move,” Haefele said.

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