This month’s survey of fund managers (with a total of $526 billion in assets under management) by Bank of America shows that cash holdings are at their lowest level since April 2015 and allocations to stocks rose in November to 36% overweight. That’s close to “extreme bullish,” according to Ban of America strategists. (The survey was conducted from November 6 through November 12.)
The low cash levels raise the question of where the money will come from to send stocks higher from here.
The allocation to stocks is driven by an extreme optimism about economic growth over the next year. Among those surveyed, 91% expect the U.S. economy to be stronger in the next 12 months and 61% believe that we’re in the early stage of a growth cycle in the global economy. The money managers identify a second wave of Covid-19 as the biggest tail risk to economies and financial markets, but they expect a credible virus vaccine to be announced by mid-January 2021. In October fund managers are projecting mid-February for a credible vaccine.
As you might expect from a group so bullish on economic growth, 73% of those surveyed expect a steeper yield curve in the bond market. 24% of surveyed investors expect value stocks will outperform growth stocks. And those responding to the survey expect that emerging markets, the Standard & Poor’s 500, and oil will outperform in 2021. 6% of fund managers say they’re taking higher than normal risk levels. That’s the highest reading on that question since January 2018.
The allocation to U.S. stocks increased 4 percentage points to 23% overweight, while allocation to euro-area stocks dropped 8 percentage points to 18% overweight. Exposure to emerging markets is rising with 36% of investors overweight emerging market stocks.