Tuesday, June 14, 2011

No Capitulation For Merrill's Fund Managers

They were about Fading Or Risking last month, this month key messages from BofA Merrill Lynch Global Fund Manager Survey are as follows:

No capitulation... no QE3

In the June FMS investors raised cash, reduced risk asset exposure and rotated to defensive sectors. But investor panic is not yet visible. The recent drop in global growth expectations stabilized and despite sharply lower inflation readings, two-thirds of investors predict no QE3.

Growth expectation stabilise
Growth and profit expectations stabilised after recent sharp falls. Inflation expectations fell to 38% from 69% two months ago. But the macro backdrop is not seen as weak enough to warrant more stimulus: three out of four panellists think a recession unlikely and only 13% expect a new round of QE in H2.

Risk is off
The percentage of investors OW cash rose to 21%, the highest since July-09. Actual cash balances rose from 3.9% to 4.2% but this did not trigger a buy signal from our trading rule. Hedge funds cut gearing levels sharply to 1.27x from 1.53x while 43% of investors believe EU sovereign debt funding is the biggest "tail risk". Overall our risk & liquidity index fell to 38, below its long term average of 40.

Gold overvaluation highest since 2009
Equity allocations fell, benefiting bonds and cash, but positioning overall stands in the middle of historic ranges. Note that the gold price is seen as more overvalued than at anytime since Dec-09 while commodity allocations again fell.

Japan remains most unloved market

Despite China growth expectations dropping to the lowest reading since Jan-09, EM remains the most preferred region for equities, pipping the US. Regional allocations show a big drop in exposure to Eurozone and UK equities but Japan remains the most unloved equity region.

Bank underweight most negative since March 2009
Contrarians note that the weighting in global banks fell to its lowest since March 2009. Consumer discretionary saw the largest monthly drop in exposure with the only positive sector moves coming from defensives. Tech remains the most popular sector followed by pharma and energy.

Contrarian trades...
Despite no contrarian "buy" signal for risk being triggered, the contrarian trades within the June FMS are: long banks, short gold; long Japanese banks, short US tech; long Eurozone, short EM; long US dollar, short Japanese yen.

Click on chart to enlarge, courtesy of BofA Merrill Lynch.

I have no intention to be contrarian this month ...

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