Investors ploughed $123.1 billion into cash in the seven days to Wednesday, marking the largest such inflow since March 2023 and a record for the first week of a year, Bank of America said in a report published on Friday.
The shift, which BofA said was typical for the first week of the year, follows 2023’s record yearly inflow to cash of $1.3 trillion, as risk-averse investors fled to safe-haven assets and higher interest rates reduced investor demand for stocks.
Citing data from fund flows and asset allocation data provider EPFR, BofA said investors bought $10.6 billion of bonds and $7.6 billion of stocks, but they shed $0.8 billion of gold.
Global equities are set to snap a nine-week winning streak as bets on aggressive central bank rate cuts were rolled back.
The benchmark S&P 500 is up about 14% since the end of October, but declined 1.1% over Wednesday and Thursday, as investors grew nervous about expectations of near imminent interest rate cuts from the Federal Reserve.
“Fed and yields dictating credit and stocks,” BofA said.
Energy stocks saw their seventh straight week of outflows, and the largest since July 2023 of $1.0 billion. US small-cap stocks recorded a weekly inflow of $2.3 billion, their fifth weekly inflow in a row.
BofA’s bull & bear indicator, a measure of market sentiment, rose to 5.3 from 5.0 to the highest level since November 2021 though remained at a neutral signal, with BofA citing equity breadth, credit technicals and strong high yield inflows.