Investors rush to buy equities, dump gold in vaccine euphoria

November 20, 2020

LONDON (Nov 20) - Investors stormed into riskier assets last week, pumping $27 billion into equity funds as positive COVID-19 vaccine updates led to euphoric buying of shares in worst-hit sectors such as banks, travel and leisure, and oil, BofA said on Friday.

Citing data from EPFR, the bank said inflows into global stocks in the last two weeks soared to $71.4 billion, the biggest ever. The flows were led by U.S. and emerging market stocks.

Still, investors were not ready to pull the plug on high-flying technology stocks, which saw $2.4 billion inflows last week. BofA said the feedback was “we’re on it (the rotation to value stocks), but we ain’t selling tech”.

Value stocks, typically companies that are more sensitive to economic cycles, have been soaring since Pfizer’s announcement earlier this month of positive data from its vaccine trial, raising hopes of an economic recovery.

BofA said it expected 2021 to be the “year of vaccine”, leading to outperformance of value stocks versus growth stocks, high-yield debt versus investment-grade debt, emerging markets versus S&P 500 and small cap versus large cap.

The risk-on moves last week prompted investors to pull $4 billion from gold, the biggest outflow ever. The yellow metal is poised to finish 2020 with the best annual performance since 2010.

The bank, however, advised clients to “sell the vaccine news”.

“We say credit and equity prices (are) to peak in coming months on peak positioning, peak policy, peak profits as optimism tops ahead of vaccine distribution.”

Major banks have upgraded their stock market forecasts for 2021 in recent days, expecting double-digit returns on European U.S. and European stock indexes.

“With both fiscal and monetary policy still highly accommodative, a sharp rebound in company earnings will drive equity returns,” said Jeroen Blokland, a portfolio manager at Robeco.


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