Larry Fink: I’m more bullish on stocks, but not oil

BlackRock Chairman and CEO Larry Fink said Friday he’s more bullish on stocks than he was a week ago, but he believes crude hasn’t hit bottom despite the recent rally in depressed oil prices.

“I think China has been acting a little more sensibly. They’ve been more rational. They’ve been more consistent. I think that’s really stabilized the [stock] market,” Fink told CNBC’s “Squawk Box” at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

“In the first few weeks [of 2016], we saw … some very large financial institutions selling. This week we saw buyers, starting on Wednesday,” he said.

Exactly one week ago, Fink told “Squawk Box” that U.S. stocks could fall another 10 percent before all the market carnage was done.

Since then, the S&P 500 initially dropped about 6 percent, before cutting that decline in half as of Thursday’s session, which saw a powerful rally that was continuing in the premarket Friday.

Fink seemed to be on the fence Friday about whether stocks overall need to see another 4 percent drop from last week’s lows before the market can really shake the new year slump. “I do believe the market will be higher by year end,” he said.

“For most people … stay in equities. Be there in equities,” he advised. “These are just corrections. As Warren Buffett says, ‘It’s a long race.’ I think too many people are panicking over these corrections that are necessary.”

Read more ‘Squawk Box’ in Davos

The S&P 500, off 8.5 percent this yea at around 1,868 as of Thursday, was still nearly three times higher than the 666 low in March 2009, the bottom during the financial crisis.

“The reality is, over a long cycle, you’re going to do fine in equities,” Fink said. “You use market declines to start accumulating [stocks].”

“[But] in some sectors, we’re going to have more pain. We’re not over yet. We still haven’t found the bottom in oil prices yet,” Fink warned, following his prediction a week ago that crude could test $25 per barrel.

Earlier this week, West Texas Intermediate crude dipped under $27 per barrel, but gains Thursday and early Friday pushed WTI up nearly 10 percent and back above $31 per barrel.

As oil tries to climb out of the cellar amid lingering China concerns, Fink also weighed into the debate over interest rates.

The Federal Reserve, which meets next week, has been under pressure to signal fewer than the four rate hikes central bankers projected in December when they increased the cost of borrowing money for the first time in a decade.

“I worry about these low rates are the cause of the market slowdown. The average saver just doesn’t have enough money in retirement,” Fink said. “Low rates force savers to save more,” not to consume or invest.

[“source -cncb”]