Alarm bells are ringing over valuations of the world’s leading
technology stocks with worries over regulation causing many investors to cut
exposure to the sector, Bank of America Merrill Lynch (BAML)’s April fund
manager survey found.
Since December last year, the “most-crowded” trades featured in the
survey have reversed in a short space of time following the poll’s publication.
These include long-Bitcoin (December) and short-volatility (January).
While survey participants still saw the tech stocks as popular,
allocations to tech actually fell to their lowest since February 2013 on fears
companies such as Facebook could face tighter regulation and higher barriers to
Increasing anxiety about stock markets’ resilience led investors to
reduce their positions on stocks generally, with bank stocks and Japan
Allocation to equities fell to an 18-month low, while some 40 percent of
investors surveyed expected the stock market to peak in the second half of this
Only 18 percent said the market had already peaked, however, while 39
percent said the peak wouldn’t come until next year. “Bulls silenced, not
routed,” wrote BAML strategists.
In equities, fund managers ramped up their allocation to commodities to
an eight-year high, and UK stocks to the highest since the Brexit vote in June
Shorting the U.S. dollar was seen as the second-most crowded trade,
followed by buying corporate bonds. Hedge funds have been ramping up their
short bets on the dollar to a total value of $27 billion.
After a ratcheting up of protectionist rhetoric between the U.S. and
China, 38 percent of investors said they saw the threat of a trade war as the
biggest risk, well ahead of concerns about central banks, market structure or
Average cash balances increased to 5 percent, ahead of the 10-year
average of 4.5 percent. Strategists said a cash balance ahead of that average
was a “buy” signal for equities.
Fund managers were pessimistic on the health of global corporates,
Expectations for global growth and profits were at 18-month lows, and
only 8 percent of respondents thought earnings per share would rise in the next
12 months, down from 35 percent in February.
Doubts about indebtedness also increased: a record share of surveyed
investors said companies are excessively levered.
In contrarian trades, government bonds, the U.S. dollar, and liquid
defensives stocks such as pharmaceuticals or consumer staples were seen as the
most unusual buys, while investors also saw shorting cyclical stocks and
emerging market equities as going against the pack.
here for the original article from Reuters.