Investors remain bearish on earnings and economic growth but are starting to get back into riskier assets, according to the latest fund-manager survey by Bank of America Merrill Lynch.
Money managers have stopped rotating into bonds from equities and returned to buying tech stocks and emerging-market assets, the survey shows.
Although 60 percent of investors responding said they expect global growth to weaken over the year -- the worst outlook since 2008 -- they’re primarily foreseeing secular stagnation in 2019, with just 14 percent predicting a global recession, according to Bank of America’s note.
The survey was conducted from Jan. 4 through Jan. 10, with the global version polling 177 participants overseeing $494 billion in assets. The results mirror investors’ mood at the start of this year, which has seen global stocks recover following turmoil at the end of 2018. Fund managers are getting back into riskier assets amid bets that the sell-off went too far and that a U.S. recession isn’t imminent.
“The good news was inflation expectations plunged, allowing investors to discount a new dovish Fed and a bull steepening of yield curve,” and it’s “no surprise that January fund manager survey shows de-risking is over,” Bank of America strategists, including Michael Hartnett, wrote in the report.
Fund managers’ concerns about corporate leverage remain at a 10-year high, with half of surveyed investors saying their preferred use of corporate cash is improving balance sheets and just 13 percent favoring a return of cash to shareholders.
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