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Stocks to rally in 2021 but not as much as last year

BlackRocks Larry Fink told CNBC on Thursday he believes the stock market has room to run, but the head of the world’s largest asset manager cautioned that the rally may not be as robust as it was in the second half of 2020.

“I think we’re going to continue to see the market to be strong into 2021, probably not as strong as we saw in the fourth quarter or the third quarter last year,” the BlackRock chairman and CEO said on “Squawk Box.”

The S&P 500 rose more than 20% from July 1 to Dec. 31 as part of a massive recovery in equities from the coronavirus pandemic-induced sell-off in February and March.

One factor that should provide a tail wind for the market is the record amount of cash investors have on the sidelines, Fink said.

“We are persistently seeing investors worldwide under-invested, not over-invested, in long-term assets, and the best source of long-term assets are equities and many asset categories in the private area,” he said.

The presence of low interest rates — and the likelihood that accommodative monetary policy will be in place for a while — will continue to drive investors into the market, Fink contended. 

Fink anticipates the second half of 2021 will be stronger for the market than the first half due to the broad rollout of Covid vaccines, allowing for the resumption of more economic activity. That is “going to be a powerful component for forward growth,” he said.

Shares of BlackRock were under pressure in premarket trading Thursday after the New York-based firm reported better-than-expected profits and revenue in the fourth quarter.

BlackRock’s assets under management surged to a record $8.68 trillion at the conclusion of the quarter. That’s up from $7.43 trillion in the same period last year.

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