Investors shun equities, pile into bonds in past week: BAML

LONDON (Reuters) – Investors are neither extremely bullish nor bearish, according to Bank of America Merrill Lynch’s gauge of market sentiment, as they weigh the impact of trade tensions between the United States and China.

Investors pulled $19.5 billion out of equities in the week to May 15, while bonds added $5.1 billion in their 19th week of inflows, Bank of America Merrill Lynch strategists said on Friday.

The bank’s “Bull & Bear” gauge has fallen to 4.7, indicating cross-asset positioning is neither extremely bullish nor bearish, it added.

Global shares have been shaken in recent days by a ratcheting up of the U.S.-China trade conflict, with the Communist Party’s People’s Daily on Friday using a front page commentary to say the trade war would never bring China down.

U.S. equities had “chunky” outflows of $8.1 billion, while it was the third week of outflows from Japan, with $1.8 billion exiting. Europe has seen outflows for 60 of the past 62 weeks, with $4.5 billion flooding out in the past week, BAML strategists said, citing EPFR flows data.

Bond yields have slumped in recent days, with Germany’s benchmark 10-year bond yield hitting more than 2-1/2 year lows on concern about U.S.-China trade relations and fears Italy may break European Union fiscal rules.

The week to May 15 was the 17th week of investment grade bond fund inflows to $7.8 billion, while high-yield bond outflows were their highest since January, with $3.5 billion exiting.

Emerging market debt outflows reached $2.9 billion, the biggest since June 2018, it said.

Reporting by Tom Arnold, editing by Karin Strohecker and Toby Chopra

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