‘Decoupling back in vogue’: US equity sentiment turns positive

Global fund managers are finally turning positive on US equities and commodities while sentiment towards Europe and emerging markets has cooled, according to the latest Bank of America Merrill Lynch fund manager survey.

Allocation to US equities climbed 16 percentage points in June to a net 1% overweight, from a net 15% underweight in May. This represents the first time investors have gone overweight US equities in 15 months.

In addition, 64% of respondents view the US as having the most favourable outlook for profits, a 17-year high, while all other regions have net negative profit outlooks.

Eurozone equities experienced a 13% drop in allocation to an 18-month low of net 20% overweight. This represents the largest fall in allocation since July 2016, the month after Brexit vote.

This sentiment is backed up by the latest Lloyds Bank Investor Sentiment Index which found investor negativity in eurozone shares plummeted in June (-18.9%), as Italy struggled to form a government.

BofAML also noted a fall in allocations to emerging market equities in June. The asset class dropped five percentage points to a net 22% overweight, a far cry from the high of 43% seen in April 2018.

However, allocation to commodities hit an eight-year high, rising one percentage point to a net 7% overweight – the highest since April 2012 when crude oil was $105 a barrel.

“Investors have their eyes on the US this month,” said Michael Hartnett, chief investment strategist at BofAML. “With a record high favourable outlook for profits and a return to US equity allocation. Decoupling is back in vogue.”

A total of 235 panellists with $684bn AUM participated in the survey between 1 and 7 June.

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