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'Irrational Exuberance' May Rule the Roost in Stock Markets

15 Novembre 2017

Even after a $5 trillion gain in US stocks over the past year, a net 49 percent said they are overweight, the highest level since April 2015.

Cash positions fell to 4.4 percent from 4.7 percent last month, the lowest level since October 2013 and below the 10-year average of 4.5 percent, according to the survey.

The "Goldilocks" scenario, a combination of low inflation and strong growth, has become the "consensus" view for the global economy, with 56% of investors predicting above-trend growth and below-trend inflation.

"Icarus is flying ever closer to the sun, and investors" risk-taking has hit an all-time high' said Michael Harnett, chief investment strategist at Bank of America Merrill Lynch.

"A record-high percentage of investors say equities are overvalued yet cash levels are simultaneously falling, an indicator of irrational exuberance", Hartnett concluded.

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A net 16% of managers said they were taking above-normal levels of risk in their portfolios, a record high since Bank of America Merrill Lynch first began surveying manager risk-taking in 2001.

Meanwhile, pessimism towards the United Kingdom continued to rise, with a net 37% underweight marking a return to the lows last seen during the global financial crisis.

In particular, the impact of the Fed's $4.5trn balance sheet reduction and European Central Bank halving its monthly bond purchases from €60bn to €30bn-a-month divided investors with 42% expecting lower stock prices and 35% predicting stocks to go higher. At the same time the allocation to Japanese equities rose to the highest level for two years, with a net 23% of global managers overweight in the country.

"Investors continue to see Japan equities as undervalued relative to other markets and say they want to overweight Japan for the next 12 months".

'Irrational Exuberance' May Rule the Roost in Stock Markets