Stocktake: Fund managers remain cautious about stocks

Fears of a tech bubble cited as the second-biggest tail risk (no prizes for guessing the first)

Bulls and bears. Frankfurt Stock Exchange in Frankfurt, Germany. Photograph: Peter Juelich/Bloomberg

Bulls and bears. Frankfurt Stock Exchange in Frankfurt, Germany. Photograph: Peter Juelich/Bloomberg

 

A 50 per cent rally in the face of a global recession might suggest investors have lost all sight of risk, but the latest Bank of America (BofA) fund manager study suggests sentiment is more muted than one might think. Only one in five expects a V-shaped economic recovery. Equity allocations have risen but remain slightly below their long-term average. A majority say we are in a bull market, although this seems like a statement of the obvious given the scale of the gains (remarkably, almost one in three still think this is a bear market rally). Cash levels have risen to 4.8 per cent (anything above 5 denotes fear, says BofA). Meanwhile, a record number say being long technology stocks is the most crowded trade in global markets. Indeed, fears of a tech bubble are cited as the second-biggest tail risk, surpassed only by the threat of a Covid-19 second wave. None of this suggests fund managers have thrown caution to the wind and become excessively bullish. It’s often said bull markets climb a wall of worry; right now, the wall of worry remains very visible, suggesting stocks have room to keep rallying.

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