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Europe's top asset manager warns of possible stock market crash


[FRANKFURT] Allianz SE, Europe's biggest insurer and asset manager, warned that stock-market turmoil may follow a recent rally.

"We see generally meager growth prospects, political dangers and risks of a stock market crash," Oliver Baete, board member and designate chief executive officer, said in an interview with Germany's Manager Magazin published on Thursday. Holger Ullrich, a spokesman for Allianz, confirmed the comments.

An executive at Pacific Investment Management Co, which Allianz owns, also said on Thursday that markets may get more volatile should Greece leave the euro area. Europe's equity benchmark, the Stoxx Europe 600 Index, has surged 19 per cent in 2015 amid quantitative easing by the European Central Bank and record low bond yields.

"We want to reduce our risk and have some dry powder to buy assets in Europe," Mihir Worah, Pimco's chief investment officer for asset allocation and real return, said in Sydney on Thursday. He put the chances of a Greek euro exit at 30 per cent.

The Stoxx 600 dropped 0.5 per cent to 407.03 at 10:17 am London time, the second day of declines. It reached a record high on April 15.

Allianz had 1.8 trillion euros of assets under management at the end of 2014.