Despite a sharp rally in most global equity markets since their March lows, most fund managers remain bullish on the road ahead for this asset class. Although they do caution against intermittent corrections, the overall bullish trend, they say, remains intact for now.
A BofA Global Fund Manager Survey (FMS) for September suggests that 58 per cent of those surveyed say the market is in a bull phase — up from 25 per cent. 224 panelists with $646 billion worth of assets under management (AUM) participated in the survey conducted between September 3 and September 10. 199 participants with $601 billion AUM responded to the Global FMS questions; 90 participants with $181 billion AUM responded to the Regional FMS questions, said BofA Securities.
However, the sustainability of this recovery has led to a marginal rise in cash levels across fund managers surveyed — from the earlier 4.6 per cent to 4.8 per cent in September.
Preference for US equities, according to BofA Securities, continued in September as well across most global fund managers in Europe, the UK, and emerging markets. As a result, US tech stocks remained the most crowded trade.
Those at Credit Suisse Wealth Management, too, echo a similar view. Though they expect the equities to do well on the back of accommodative central bank policies, especially the US Federal Reserve, they do caution against the lopsided valuation of US tech stocks.
“The recent correction in US equities is a warning shot that a more pronounced consolidation could be in the offing after equity valuations became lofty over the past few months, with the US markets, in particular, becoming increasingly lopsided, as the rally was concentrated in certain technology names,” wrote Jitendra Gohil, head of India equity research at Credit Suisse Wealth Management, in a September 15 note co-authored with Premal Kamdar.
Credit Suisse Wealth Management expects the Indian equity market to see some downward pressure in the coming weeks, as profit booking may set in.
“However, from a medium-term perspective, we still expect positive returns from equities, as we believe equity, as an asset class, should see support from ultra-loose monetary policies by the major central banks. We recommend investors to use this weakness to build exposure to large private sector banks from a 12-18 months’ perspective,” they said.
According to Goldman Sachs, markets currently are in the first phase of a new investment cycle, which it calls a ‘Hope’ rally. Investors, it says, start to anticipate an economic recovery in this phase and is typically the strongest part of the cycle. The liquidity support from global central banks that has fuelled this rally is likely to continue and the ‘policy support’ remains very supportive of risk assets, believes Goldman Sachs.
Economic recovery, they believe, looks more durable as Covid-19 vaccine shots become more likely. On the other hand, 49 per cent of fund managers surveyed by BofA Securities in September said that global economy was in the early-cycle phase versus 37 per cent who believe it is still in recession.
“September FMS shows net 61 per cent of investors predict a U- or W-shaped recovery versus 20 per cent saying it will be V-shaped,” said BofA Securities.