Bullish Investors Drop Recession Calls for First Time Since April 2022

Reuters02-13

MILAN/LONDON, Feb 13 (Reuters) - Global investors are at their most bullish in two years this month and no longer expect a recession, as confidence grows in the resilience of the underlying economy, a Bank of America survey showed on Tuesday.

Fund mangers with a combined $568 billion in assets cut cash to 4.2% from 4.8% and lifted global stocks allocations to a two-year high, the report showed.

This is the first time since April 2022 that fund managers have dropped their calls for recession, the survey showed.

"Expectations for strong macro and no recession keep investors in the "soft landing" camp at 65%, with "hard landing" probability fading to just 11%," BofA said.

The fastest growing category is the "no landing" scenario. The survey showed 19% now forecast no landing for the economy, up from 7% in the January survey.

Some 65% forecast a soft landing for the economy and 11% predict a hard landing. Last month, 79% predicted a soft- or no-landing outlook, while 17% called for a hard landing.

Markets are pricing for a series of interest-rate cuts this year from the major central banks. The Federal Reserve has pushed back against some of this optimism and recent data has not argued in favour of prompt cuts either.

Yet the S&P 500 has hit record highs above 5,000 this month, driven by enthusiasm about AI and a bumper earnings season.

Investors have certainly gone all-in on technology stocks. According to the survey, tech allocation is at its highest since August 2020 and fund managers believe that "long Magnificent 7" - a notional basket of the seven biggest U.S. companies by market value that includes Apple and Microsoft - is the most crowded trade right now.

Second on the list is "short China stocks". Chinese blue-chips have hit their lowest in five years in February, prompting the authorities in Beijing to roll out a series of measures to shore up the market and stem the outflows.

The survey showed BofA's "Bull & Bear Indicator" has reached 6.8, suggesting that "investor positioning increasingly a headwind for risk assets," the bank said.

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