You can add legendary investor Carl Icahn to the list of experts who think that financial markets are at risk of a bubble after strong rallies over the past six years.
Markets are "extremely overheated, especially high-yield bonds," he told CNBC
. The S&P 500 has more than tripled since March 2009, and the Barclays U.S. Corporate High-Yield bond index has returned 3.3 percent so far this year, the best performance among Barclays U.S. bond indices.
"I think the public is walking into a trap again as they did in 2007," Icahn said. "I think it's almost the duty of well-respected investors, like myself I hope, to warn people, to tell people, that really you are making errors."
As for stocks, multiples are huge and earnings are "sort of fudged" by accounting techniques, he said. The S&P 500 carried a trailing price-earnings ratio of 21.73 Friday, up from 19.34 a year earlier, according to Birinyi Associates.
"I do think you are going to have a dramatic pullback, certain things may happen," Icahn said.
Meanwhile, as stocks continue to creep higher, with the S&P 500 scoring a record peak last month, market breadth is declining. In other words, fewer and fewer stocks are participating in the advance.
That has led many experts to call this a "stock picker’s market," because you must choose carefully to find a winner. But this isn't a good omen for the market, says MarketWatch columnist Mark Hulbert
"By telling their clients this is a stock picker’s market, advisers think they are distinguishing the investment environment from other periods in which the majority of stocks participate in the market’s major trend," he writes.
"Little do they appreciate that, in effect, they are also declaring the bull market to be getting extremely long in the tooth."
And why is that? "The degree to which stocks move together in unison is a function of the market cycle," Hulbert explains.
"In bear markets the vast majority of stocks do so, whereas in bull markets stocks tend to march to the beat of their own drummer. It’s at market tops, therefore, when stocks’ moves in step with the overall market tend to be at the lowest point."
The S&P 500 stood at 2,111 Wednesday afternoon, 1 percent below its all-time peak.
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