Cash, stocks attract billions as investors seek inflation havens

Investors are putting billions of dollars into cash and stock funds as they seek protection from surging inflation.

Cash saw the biggest inflows in six weeks at about $54 billion, while exchange-traded funds led additions of about $12 billion into equities in the week through June 8, according to Bank of America Corp. note, which cited EPFR Global data. US stocks were the primary beneficiaries of inflows with about $13 billion, while bond fund outflows resumed, the data showed.

After being hammered this year by surging inflation and hawkish central banks, stock markets have struggled to recover amid fears of a potential recession. The S&P 500 has bounced back after flirting with a bear market last month, but it remains more than 16% below its January record high and is on track for its ninth weekly decline in 10. Investors will be closely watching US inflation data today for clues on the pace of monetary tightening.

Bank of America’s Michael Hartnett said in the note that the US economy is “a couple of bad data points away from ‘recession’.”

“We’re in technical recession but just don’t realise it,” he wrote. “In short, inflation shock not over, rates shock just starting, growth shock coming, no release valve from peak in yields, bear market rally too consensus.”

US large-caps saw inflows of $14.5 billion in the week through Wednesday, while outflows hit US small-caps, value and growth shares, according to BofA’s note. Among sectors, materials and health care had the biggest inflows, while financials, communication services, and technology saw the biggest outflows.

Among regions, European stocks continued to face outflows for the seventeenth week, while emerging-market and Japanese equity funds also saw redemptions.

© 2022 Bloomberg