LONDON – Investors loaded up on global equities in the week to Wednesday, BofA’s crunching of weekly fund flow statistics showed on Friday, as companies reported blowout earnings and major central banks downplayed worries about a dial back in monetary stimulus.
Equity funds attracted $18.5 billion, primarily driven by cyclical U.S. stocks closely tied to performance of the economy. Meanwhile, bond funds sucked in $13.5 billion in the week to May 5, BofA said, citing EPFR data.
Though the U.S. Federal Reserve said it would continue to keep the stimulus tap open despite strong economic data, BofA said “bad news is global tapering has begun” – referring to major central banks’ plan to cut down hefty bond purchases started in March 2020.
That comes a day after the Bank of England slowed the pace of its trillion dollar bond-purchasing programme and a month after Bank of Canada said it could start to raise rates by late 2022 and pared back its bond-buying.
Still, Fed members are sticking their dovish stance.
“The stronger the macro, the quicker and bigger the taper,” BofA told its clients, ahead of strong economic data expected in the second and third quarter.
The U.S. S&P 500 index is just shy of record highs on Friday ahead of U.S. jobs numbers that could provide clues on when the Fed might ease back on monetary stimulus.
Atlanta Fed Bank President Raphael Bostic said on Thursday that a million or more jobs were likely created in April, but that would not be enough to push the Fed to begin discussing whether to pare its $120 billion in monthly asset purchases.
In early signs of caution setting in, investors pumped $1.6 billion into gold, the most in three months.