Billionaire quant Cliff Asness says stocks are 'whistling past the graveyard' and he's 'more of a bond than a stock guy at this point'

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Billionaire quant investor Cliff Asness said on Thursday that he currently favors bonds over equities, given the returns that U.S. Treasuries are offering.

“I’m more of a bond than a stock guy at this point,” the founder principal of AQR Capital Management said when asked about his asset preferences at a virtual event hosted by Brazilian bank Banco Bradesco.

U.S. Treasury yields, which move inversely to prices, surged in October, with the benchmark 10-year yield hitting 5% for the first time since 2007. The S&P 500 .SPX is up 17% this year, fueled in-part by hopes the Federal Reserve will soon achieve its goal of taming inflation while also avoiding a recession.

“Bonds are starting to look pretty, pretty reasonable. Equities on the other hand, globally, but particularly in the U.S., kind of look like they’re whistling past the graveyard,” the investor said.

Asness added he believes U.S. stocks are unlikely to repeat the same valuation growth they posted in the last 30 years. “That would leave the U.S. about four times more expensive than non-U.S. stocks,” he said. “I don’t think we’ll ever seen one country … four times the rest of the world.”

AQR’s longest-running strategy, the AQR Absolute Return fund, posted a gain of 21% this year through October, a source familiar with the matter said.The firm, famous for its quantitative strategies, had $94.5 billion in assets under management in December 2022.

(Reporting by Carolina Mandl in New York; editing by Jonathan Oatis and Nick Zieminski)

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