Investors pulled more money from global equity funds in the past week while buying bonds and pumping cash into emerging debt, Bank of America Merrill Lynch (BAC) (BAML) said on Friday.
July has seen MSCI’s world equity index rise almost 4% but the gains came against a backdrop of continued uncertainty around economic growth and future company earnings especially in Britain and Europe, which are starting to feel the impact of Brexit.
The week also saw some repricing of U.S. interest rate expectations, with futures now pricing roughly even odds of a rate rise in December.
BAML said in its weekly note that equities had posted outflows of $5.4 billion, with mutual funds’ $8.4 billion outflow partly offset by $3 billion flowing into exchange traded funds (ETFs).
Reuters’ monthly asset allocation poll, released earlier on Friday, found that global investors’ equity holdings were at the lowest in at least five years, while bond allocations had risen sharply.
European equities posted their 25th straight week of outflows, losing $4.2 billion while Japanese and U.S. losses were smaller at $700 million and $400 million respectively. Emerging stocks took in $400 million, their fourth straight week of gains.
Japanese stocks came under some pressure on Friday from authorities’ decision to opt for only modest additional stimulus, which also sent the yen soaring.
BAML noted that its monthly fund survey of fund managers had showed that bearish positions on Japanese equities were at their highest in three-and-a-half years.
The Fed uncertainty has held gold prices in check in recent weeks and BAML said precious metals funds had suffered outflows of $500 million. This is their first outflow in nine weeks and the biggest weekly loss since December.
Bond funds saw inflows of $7.9 billion, BAML said, but the most notable moves came in emerging markets, with debt funds taking in $3.4 billion. This brings the four-week inflow streak to $14 billion, the biggest on record.
While government bond funds continued to lose ground, municipal bonds saw their 45th straight week of inflows, while investment grade bond funds received $3.2 billion and high yield absorbed $700 million, BAML said.