Major Wall Street banks are telling clients to be ready for a sudden rip higher in the market

Traders work under monitors displaying 3M Co. signage on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S.

Michael Nagle | Bloomberg | Getty Images

As stocks enjoy their best start to a year in three decades, Wall Street firms are flagging the risk of another, surprise move even higher.

And they have a playbook for clients if and when that happens.

In notes to clients this week, Morgan Stanley and Bank of America highlighted the possibility of another quick move higher. They refer to a so-called “melt up,” driven by investors late to the game looking to get in on a positive momentum shift and often a sign of a late-stage bull market. The S&P 500 is up more than 17% this year, but there have been little inflows into stocks, suggesting a whole group of investors that could…

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