As optimism about the global economy’s growth has sunk to an all-time low, concerns over stagflation have skyrocketed to levels not seen since the 2008 financial crisis, says the monthly fund manager survey out from Bank of America. The survey is cited in a Bloomberg article.
The survey notes that expectations for global profit earnings have plummeted in other times of financial stress, such as the dotcom bubble burst in the early 2000s and the Lehman Brothers bankruptcy. But the study was also released prior to recent U.S. inflation data that destroyed any hope of the Fed being able to slow its momentum as it aggressively raises interest rates, the article contends.
73% of the survey’s respondents believe the economy will weaken over the next year, and offered a glimpse into manager sentiment—and how they might act on it. With that sentiment driven by inflation worries, the S&P 500 fell into bear market territory earlier this week, then bounced back slightly a day later, with long oil and commodities being the most popular trading sectors. In addition to those two trades, investors are taking long positions in cash, the U.S. dollar, healthcare, resources, and high quality value stocks. Bonds, European and emerging markets, tech and consumer stocks are dominating the short positions.
In the Bank of America survey, strategist Michael Hartnett wrote that “Wall Street sentiment is dire but no big low in stocks before big high in yields and inflation, and the latter requires Uber-hawkish Fed hikes in June & July.” And indeed, investors are citing hawkish central banks around the world as their most concerning tail risk, with the fears of a global recession coming in second.