Analysts warn the US is not the safest house for investment

PUBLISHED : Monday, 11 April, 2016, 12:13pm
UPDATED : Monday, 11 April, 2016, 1:53pm

If you're looking for a safe place to put your money, then you might want to stay away from the U.S. according to one market watcher.

Mark Eibel of Russell Investments says that muted earnings growth, uncertainty over the Federal Reserve 's monetary policy and a chaotic political landscape will continue to drive volatility in U.S. equities throughout the end of the year.

"The U.S. just bounces around and really if you go back to 2015 it's been a lot of churn to get to almost the same spot," Eibel said. "We think there would be continued volatility and the potential for upside exists outside of the U.S., particularly in Europe," he added.

The analyst's warning comes as Wall Street is growing more pessimistic about growth prospects and the outlook for earnings. Economists have steadily whittled down their estimates for the first quarter of 2016, which is barely expected to register any growth at all.

For Eibel, the only thing that could take U.S. stocks higher is positive earnings growth.

"There's this tug-of-war happening," he said, particularly as the U.S. dollar's recent retreat gives multinational corporations a boost. "As the dollar effect wears off that should be a little bit less of a headwind for earnings; however, energy earnings are still going to be difficult," Eibel added. "I think they are going to offset each other."

As a result, Eibel said the S&P 500 index will continue to see steep sell-offs followed by sharp rallies, which will inevitably leave stocks unchanged on the year.

"We think flattish returns, maybe slightly positive for the S&P 500," he said. "There are better opportunities outside of the U.S. and keep your eyes on emerging markets. They are at 20-year lows and at some point the market is going to recognize that and the money is going to move back in more quickly than we've seen over the last six weeks."

Emerging markets have outperformed the S&P 500 since the 11th February "Dimon bottom," a reference to the JPMorgan Chase CEO who said the market correction probably was over. The EEM, the exchange traded fund that tracks the group, is up more than 16 percent while the large-cap S&P 500 index is up 13 per cent since then.