Stock market peak? ‘Easy money’ has been made but room for more gains, strategists say

Investors need to be more focused on finding companies that can clear a higher bar on earnings: Nuveen’s Malik

Another week of booming U.S. economic data and strong corporate earnings, including blowouts by some of the world’s largest technology companies, is in the books, yet stocks still managed only a mixed performance, feeding fears that market participants have already priced in a post-pandemic economic boom.

“The way the markets are behaving has to do with investor concerns over whether the easy money has been made,” Saira Malik, chief investment officer for Nuveen’s $420 billion global equity division, told MarketWatch in an interview.

Those concerns aren’t necessarily misplaced. “A lot of easy money has been made,” Malik said, but there is still scope for gains. Investors, however, will need to be more selective, focusing on companies and sectors more likely to top rising earnings expectations, she said.