Dalio's Bridgewater Sees No Bubble Trouble

Don’t count hedge fund guru Ray Dalio’s Bridgewater Associates among the investors who think the stock market is in bubble territory.

“We think asset prices are high and, as a result, the future expected returns of passive investing are likely to be low. But … we do not see current conditions as a bubble,” Bridgewater co-CIO Greg Jensen and Jacob Kline wrote in a private note to clients on May 1 obtained by CNBC.com.

Jensen and Kline offered a number of reasons why they don’t think stocks are in a bubble. Among them: Valuations are still in “normal territory”; Leverage isn’t a major driving force of prices and overall lending is still “modest”; U.S. retail and foreign investors have “modest” positions; and Economic sentiment is “less ebullient” than other bubble periods.

Jensen and Kline do refer to “frothy” bullish sentiment and they say there are “pockets of froth” in high-yield bonds and commercial real estate. But those areas don’t even amount to bubbles, they said. “Assets not being in a bubble doesn’t mean they can’t decline and aren’t vulnerable to surprises, but it does make a cascading pop in asset prices much less likely,” they wrote.