Investors eager, but hold no great expectations for economic growth
Investors are jumping back into the market and reducing their cash holdings even as the overall economic outlook suggests the world economy is facing "below-trend growth" and "above trend" inflation, according to the Bank of America Merrill Lynch (BAC) Survey of Fund Managers for April. For the survey, BofA Merrill Lynch Research and TNS questioned 282 fund managers who oversee $757 billion in assets. About 158 of the managers, who oversee $381 billion of that, took part in the regional survey, while 199 fund managers managing $566 billion in assets took part in the global survey. Investors who are increasing their equity positions are doing so because they remain confident that interest rates will remain low, the report said. Overall, cash balances now make up 3.7% of the investor portfolios, down from 4.1% in March, the report said. About 11% of the respondents say they are overweight in cash, compared to 18% a month prior. About 50% of asset allocators report being overweight in equities, up from 45% a month earlier. "Investors are putting cash to work while displaying concerns about the outlook," the report concluded. "The proportion of the panel believing the world economy will strengthen in the next 12 months has fallen to net 27% from net 58% in February. Similarly, only a net 19% of respondents believe corporate profits will improve in the coming year, compared with a net 3% in March." “Central banks have succeeded in re-inflating economies, but investors are split on whether they have stimulated real economic growth," added Gary Baker, head of European Equities strategy at BofA Merrill Lynch Global Research. Investors participating in the survey said they have a desire to see corporations increase capital expenditures over the course of the next five years. Write to Kerri Panchuk.