Investment & Economy

In the first quarter of 2021, global equity funds attracted $372 billion in capital inflows

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According to Bank of America strategists, investors bought a record number of stocks in the first quarter of 2021, and generous stimulus measures and bets on economic recovery pushed $372 billion into global equity funds.

In the first three months of this year, global stock inflows accounted for the largest proportion of managed asset inflows since 2006, strategists quoted EPFR global data in their April 1 report. Cyclical stocks were the biggest winners at the beginning of the year, attracting $35 billion in value stocks and $24 billion in financial stocks as fund managers scrambled to buy previously underperforming sectors by betting on the reopening of the economy.

Traffic data confirmed bullish sentiment, which has pushed global stock markets to record highs, with optimism about vaccination efforts outpacing concerns that higher bond yields could disrupt gains. According to Bank of America, while bond yields offer limited returns, stocks are still the choice of investors, with fixed income funds attracting only $131 billion this year.

Bank of America strategist led by Michael Hartnett said that in the second quarter, driven by “epic” policy stimulus, the strongest economic data since World War II and “rising sentiment”, the price earnings ratio of the US stock market has reached the second highest since 1901. The biggest risks of a bull market, they say, are a surge in Treasury yields of more than 2% and more “deleveraging events.”.

According to Bank of America, although investors abandoned growth stocks and defensive stocks with inflated valuations in the first quarter and moved to cheaper and more cyclical sectors, technology stocks still attracted $30 billion in capital inflows.

Major global fund management companies, including BlackRock, remain optimistic about the sustainability of the stock market rally.

“Economic growth is expected to reach its highest level since 2005, and stocks will benefit,” Nigel Bolton, CO chief investment officer of BlackRock foundation, said in a report. He suggested focusing on stocks that could generate revenue growth, and said some of the winners of the recent sell-off could now be bought at better valuations.

In the week ended March 31, equity funds received $20.7 billion in inflows, bond funds increased by $10.4 billion, and quarter end cash increased by $48.6 billion, Bank of America said. Technology stocks saw the largest capital outflow since September, down $900 million.

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