【以下、Financial Times からの引用】
Global equities suffer investor flight
Outflows hit nearly $90bn in 2016 as portfolio managers and funds retreat to havens
MAY 14, 2016 by: Eric Platt in New York
Investors are pulling money from global equity funds at their fastest pace since 2011, as benchmark indices stall ahead of the anniversary of last year’s record highs.
Redemptions from stock funds have reached nearly $90bn so far this year as portfolio managers and hedge funds struggle to navigate a market that no longer appears driven by radical central bank policy.
Markets have rebounded from a steep sell-off at the year’s start, but confidence has slipped and investors have shifted to the sidelines. The S&P 500, Euro Stoxx 600 and Nikkei have all slid since May began, and $7.4bn was withdrawn from equities in the last week alone, according to data provider EPFR.
“It’s the great unknown. Everyone is pushing on a string,” said Jim Tierney, a chief investment officer with Alliance Bernstein. “If you didn’t invest when rates were zero, and you’re not investing now when rates are negative, what more can be done to prod people to spend and invest.”
The withdrawals underline fears over growth in Japan and the Eurozone, as well as questions over US companies’ ability to weather a fragile economic backdrop. Technology earnings, one engine of growth, broadly disappointed in the latest quarter, with more than $80bn sliced off Apple’s valuation since its earnings announcement in April.
Many of the concerns that plagued markets when the year began — the collapse in oil prices, fears of a Chinese hard landing and even talk of recession in the US — have eased, but investors are now looking at a horizon pockmarked by exogenous risks.
“We’re not impervious to the risks,” said Paul Christopher, head global market strategist with Wells Fargo Investment Institute. “There will be some binary event type risks; Brexit is one, Spanish elections are another and the US elections in November are a third. Because of those event risks and since we’re waiting for growth to return … we’ve gotten more selective.”
Robust US retail sales figures for April and an improvement in consumer confidence figures for this month were not enough to allay investor concerns on Friday, with the S&P 500 sliding back towards its break-even point for the year.
Most recent economic readings from the US have proved disheartening, with monthly job growth falling short of expectations, while industrial production figures from Europe on Thursday were weak.
Unconventional stimulus programs, including the introduction of negative interest rates by the European Central Bank and Bank of Japan, have been met with incredulity from investors who warn such efforts have been ineffective.
The withdrawals have put equities “firmly” on track for their biggest year of redemptions since 2011, EPFR said.
“Driving this latest shift are doubts about the effectiveness of the policies pursued by Japan and the Eurozone to kick-start economic growth, the erosion of corporate profit margins in the US and China and the structural issues dogging many of the major emerging markets,” said Cameron Brandt, director of research at EPFR.
In the past week, 20 per cent of investors said they were optimistic about the US stock market, roughly half the historical average, according to the American Association of Individual Investors.
Bond funds and money market accounts benefited from the shift out of stocks in the past week. Global bond funds counted $3.5bn of fresh capital in the five trading days to Wednesday, the 11th week of inflows in the past 12, according to EPFR.
Money market accounts — often considered a proxy for cash — received $5.1bn of inflows in the past week, the third consecutive week of additions, according to Lipper.
Funds invested in high-grade US corporate debt also benefited, with $1.1bn of inflows. Riskier junk bond funds suffered their largest outflow since January, although investors were quick to point out that most of the redemptions were concentrated in just a handful of exchange traded funds.
The investor preference for debt, accentuated by the ECB and BoJ bond buying programmes, has kept a lid on sovereign bond yields and suppressed corporate borrowing costs. Global bond funds have recorded $59bn of inflows since the year began, surpassing the $56bn haul in 2015.
“The market tone feels OK, feels relatively constructive for credit,” said Ken Monaghan, head of global high yield for Amundi Smith Breeden. “We’re seeing money being put to work in fixed income … If there was some reluctance to do so earlier this year because of recessionary concerns, that has proved to be more of a temporary pause.”