Bullish investors pile into EM, European stocks in March, BofA survey shows

By Thomson Reuters Mar 19, 2024 | 3:13 AM

By Harry Robertson

LONDON (Reuters) – Upbeat investors rushed into emerging market equities in March at the fastest pace since April 2017, and into euro zone stocks at the quickest clip since June 2020, Bank of America’s fund manager survey on Tuesday showed.

Global growth expectations among the fund managers surveyed by BofA were at a two-year high, with “risk appetite” at the highest since November 2021.

A string of stronger-than-expected U.S. data releases has helped brighten the mood in global stock markets, even if it has made the Federal Reserve less likely to cut interest rates and hurt bond prices. The benchmark U.S. S&P 500 has been trading at all-time highs.

BofA’s survey showed that 40% of respondents expect lower bond yields in the next 12 months, down from 62% in December 2023. Inflation was seen as the biggest tail risk for markets, whereas in December a global recession was viewed as the biggest danger.

March saw outflows from U.S. equities, BofA said, particularly from discretionary and tech stocks.

However, the “long Magnificent Seven” – Alphabet, Amazon, Apple, Meta, Microsoft, Nvidia, and Tesla – remained the most crowded trade.

Investor optimism was underscored by survey respondents becoming on balance positive about corporate profit growth for the first time since January 2022.

(Reporting by Harry Robertson; Editing by Amanda Cooper and Bernadette Baum)