BAML Survey: How Are Global Fund Managers Positioned?

BAML survey’s key findings

BAML (Bank of America Merrill Lynch) conducted a survey that polled 187 global investors with $547 billion in total assets under management between April 5 and April 11.

One of the survey’s key findings was that the allocation to global stocks had jumped 14 percentage points to net 17% overweight, which marked the largest increase since December 2016.

BAML Survey: How Are Global Fund Managers Positioned?

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The US markets have been rallying YTD (year-to-date) due to the Fed’s interest rate U-turn and optimism about a potential US-China trade deal. As of April 15, the S&P 500 Index (SPY), the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DIA), and the NASDAQ Composite Index (QQQ) have risen 16.1%, 13.2%, and 20.5%, respectively, YTD.

Global fund managers have increased their exposures to cyclical stocks while reducing their cash allocation by 14 percentage points. However, a majority of managers are still positioned in utilities (XLU) and other defensive sectors.

Fund managers’ allocations

Emerging markets (EEM) remained a favorite over the Eurozone (HEDJ) (EZU) with a net 34% of fund managers overweight on them. Jeffrey Gundlach, the founder of DoubleLine Funds, mentioned that if equities do well in 2019, then emerging markets will outperform US stocks (VOO). Even if equities don’t do well, emerging markets could fall less than US stocks, as was the case in the fourth quarter of 2018.

Fund managers’ total allocation to European equities rose 8% to a net neutral level. The United Kingdom is the least-favored region with a net 28% of investors underweight on it.