FOMO - or the fear of missing out - has driven the stunning comeback rally on global markets this year, says Pie Funds chief executive Mike Taylor.

This afternoon the local NZX-50 index surged to a fresh high of 9382 points - its first since late September last year.

Between October and December shares plunged buy almost 20 per cent.

Many funds took defensive positions expecting a bear market but cash has now started flowing back into equities.


The FT - using figures from EPFR Global - reports that globally equity funds received more than US$9 billion - for the week ended February 27, the largest inflow since September last year.

"Last year we had the panic selling. This year it almost feels like panic buying," Taylor says.

"People are wanting to get back into the market because they had such a terrible year last year they want to catch up and make some returns in 2019."

The catalyst for the change was the US Federal Reserve's change in stance - and pause in proposed rate hikes.

"Things were slowing in the US so they needed to pause. But when you look at the rally now, there's nothing fundamental behind [it] apart from interest rates staying flat. Earnings growth in the US is expected to be flat or slightly negative."

Taylor says there is a risk of the market getting too far ahead of fundamentals again, with every prospect that the Fed may start to resume rate hikes later in the year.

The prospect of a resolution to the US Chian trade war has also driven investor confidence in the past week.

While a final resolution to that might drive another spike, there is also a risk that the upside is already "baked in" to prices, Taylor says.


"You'd be more likely to get a much bigger reaction if there was no deal."

Looking at the economic fundamentals around the world there were still plenty of signs that we were in the late stage of this economic cycle, Taylor says.

Europe and the UK were not in great shape and China's economy is slowing and the US deficit continues to blow out.

"Can we continue this Goldilocks scenario of low rates and tepid growth? Possibly that continues through the year. But there are definitely still warning signs out there."