Global fund managers have dumped recession concerns and are piling into stocks ahead of what could be a record 2020 rally, according to Bank of America Merrill Lynch's benchmark survey published Tuesday.
More than half of those polled the November BAML survey of 178 investors controlling around $700 billion in assets expect equities to be the top performing asset class in 2020, the survey revealed, with commodities and cash topping the list of favored positions heading into next year. Furthermore, a net 6% of those questioned expect a stronger global economy next year, a 43 percentage point rise from last month that caps the biggest turnaround on record.
"The bulls are back," said chief investment strategist Michael Hartnett. "Investors are experiencing FOMO - the fear of missing out - which has prompted a wave of optimism and jump in exposure to equities and cyclicals."
Investors are marking a risk-on rotation into value stocks, the survey noted, while moving out of the more defensive sectors such as large-cap equities, utilities, consumer staples and fixed income positions.
Long U.S. tech stocks remains the industry's most-crowded trade, the survey indicated, following by long positions in U.S. Treasury bonds and investment grade corporate bonds.
That might help explain that while trade risk remains a key investors concern, with 39% of respondents citing the current U.S.-China standoff, as well as myriad disputes between Washington and major economies around the word, a bond market bubble has risen higher in terms of near-term risks, according to 16% of those surveyed.
Monetary policy impotence (12%) and a further slowing of the Chinese economy (11%) were also cited as near-term investor worries.