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Investors keep loading cash fearing stimulus dial backs - BofA

Stocks rise, led by growth names, dollar eases
Stocks rise, led by growth names, dollar eases   -   Copyright  Thomson Reuters 2021
By Reuters

LONDON – Investors have piled on more cash and cut exposure to tech stocks, indicating concern over a dialling back of stimulus by central banks, BofA’s latest fund flow statistics showed on Friday.

The investment bank expects market trends in the second half of the year to shift from “quantitative easing to quantitative tightening” and “inflation to stagflation” — meaning soaring prices despite a decline in economic activity.

BofA highlighted how U.S. retail sales soared 20% above pre-pandemic levels, while U.S. employment was 8 million less than in February 2020. Global stocks were treading water on Friday ahead of the Friday’s nonfarm payrolls report.

Those expectations seemingly shifted investment trends in recent weeks, with fund managers loading up $16.3 billion in cash for the week to Wednesday, on top of the $68 billion last week.

BofA said $1.6 billion left tech funds, the largest since December 2018. Tech stocks are particularly sensitive to rising rate expectations because their value rests heavily on future earnings, which are discounted more deeply when rates rise.

But, flows into equities were still coming albeit at a slower pace, BofA’s number crunching showed. Equities attracted $14.7 billion led by banks and material stocks, which typically benefit from an inflationary environment.

That has helped Europe, which saw $2.3 billion inflows.

Fund managers have been steadily shifting towards stocks that typically benefit from rising rates, growth and inflation, like banks and energy groups which make a big part of European stock indexes.