Uncertainty over the economic outlook and the banking sector prompted investors to move money back into cash and gold in the week to Wednesday, according to BofA Global Research.
But the current environment is tricky to trade, as evidenced by a push into perceived risky assets such as tech stocks and the largest inflows into Chinese equities in well over a year, BofA's note, which cited data from EPFR, said Friday.
There were $52.3 billion of inflows to cash funds in the week, a resumption of inflows after one-off outflows a week earlier, and also $200 million of inflows to gold.
There have been $634 billion of inflows into cash in the year to date compared to $11 billion for the whole of 2022.
Meanwhile, in the week to Wedensday there were $6.1 billion of inflows to Chinese equity funds, the most since January 2022, and $1.2 billion of inflows to tech funds, the most since November 2022.
"Under the surface it's starting to get scary, but we all know what the Big Tech horsemen can do to P&L before we blow up," BofA said.
Stronger-than-expected earnings from big tech and growth companies this week including Alphabet Inc, Microsoft Corp and Meta Platforms Inc have supported markets despite jitters in the U.S. banking sector.
Meanwhile, Chinese stocks have been rising this week, ahead of an expected record-high travel rush over the Labor Day holiday, as fears around geopolitical tensions eased a touch and markets rebounded from last week's dips after data showed an uneven economic recovery.
BofA also flagged the ever louder shouts of recession from U.S. yield curves, noting that the for the first time since 1981 every U.S. yield curve has been inverted for over six months
It also said the current 170 basis point gap between the U.S. 3-month and 10-year yield had been exceeded on just 125 days in the past 100 years.
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