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Investors are navigating a mature bull market, not a bubble, says Atlantic Trust CIO Donabedian

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SOURCE Atlantic Trust Private Wealth Management

Crosscurrents bound to create bouts of volatility but also generate investment opportunities across markets

ATLANTA, June 12, 2014 /PRNewswire/ - Investors should not see today's broad stock market as a bubble but rather as a mature bull market, says David L. Donabedian, CFA, Chief Investment Officer of Atlantic Trust, the U.S. private wealth management division of CIBC (NYSE: CM) (TSX: CM).

"By virtue of its duration and current valuations, equities are in the mature phase of a bull market. That means a more sober pace of advance, with a lot riding on the economy and monetary policy," says Donabedian.

"Many have asked the question, 'Are we in another bubble?'" he says. "Our response is no, but given the destruction over the last 15 years from the bursting of the tech, credit and housing bubbles, this question is always a wise one to ask."

Stoked by unconventional monetary stimulus and with evident pockets of valuation excess, the S&P 500 reached progressive new highs. But, overall market valuations are middling relative to the long-term average, and interest rates remain well below average.

"Excessive valuations and 'hot' IPOs in the social media and biotech spaces have been deflated, while the overall market advanced. This is an indication of rational, valuation-sensitive behavior-not a bubble," he says.

The good news is the U.S. economy continues to gain strength. "It has been a long time coming, but the U.S. economy is showing its broadest base of health in almost a decade," says Donabedian. "We look for 3% or better real GDP growth over the next few quarters-about a full percentage point higher than the average growth rate of this recovery."

There is no question that the extraordinary measures of the Fed and other central banks have been a huge catalyst for the equity bull market in recent years, he says.

In the near term, the European Central Bank's more aggressive approach is supportive of equity markets around the world, not just in Europe. "Liquidity is increasingly a global phenomenon," he adds. "Over time, though, we expect that central bank policy will be the most frequent source of market volatility."

About Atlantic Trust

Atlantic Trust is one of the nation's leading private wealth management firms, offering integrated wealth management for high-net-worth individuals, families, foundations and endowments. The firm considers clients' financial, trust, estate planning and philanthropic needs in developing customized asset allocation and investment management strategies. Experienced professionals deliver a broad range of solutions, including proprietary investment offerings and a robust open architecture platform of traditional and alternative managers. Atlantic Trust operates in 12 full-service locations throughout the U.S. with $24.4 billion in assets under management (as of April 30, 2014). For more information, visit

About CIBC

CIBC is a leading Canadian-based global financial institution. Through our Retail and Business Banking, Wealth Management and Wholesale Banking businesses, CIBC provides a full range of financial products to individual, small business, commercial, corporate and institutional clients in Canada and around the world. CIBC owns a 41-percent equity interest in American Century Investments®, a major U.S. asset management company, serving financial intermediaries, institutions and individuals, and acquired Atlantic Trust, a premier U.S. private wealth management firm, in January 2014. You can find other news releases and information about CIBC in our Media Centre on our corporate website at

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