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Bank Of America Reads Minds

Bank of America's survey

Image source: Stuart Monk, ASDF_MEDIA, Erni, Tomohiro Yamashita, JRP Studio, gualtiero boffi - Shutterstock

What's going on?

Despite economic data being better than expected this year, investors are more braced than ever for stocks to fall, according to a survey of money managers published on Tuesday.

What does this mean?

Bank of America asked 250 investment managers, who collectively look after $690 billion of assets, what they’ve been plotting. It turns out investors shrank their stock holdings in the last month – and a record number tended to their “hedges”, making investments that will profit if their shareholdings fall this quarter (tweet this). The recent escalation in trade tariffs between the US and China may see even more investors make similar moves…

But the money managers don’t expect a global recession until late 2020 at the earliest. Recession expectations may have been postponed thanks to prediction-beating first-quarter economic growth in the US, Europe, and China – as well as better-than-expected quarterly reports from most American firms.

Why should I care?

For markets: Surveys get into investors’ heads.

Investors need to know what others think and therefore rake over surveys of their peers. (Would you put your money somewhere without seeing what other Finimizers thought first?) Most surveyed investors still back US tech stocks. And high-profile tech initial public offerings just keep coming this year – messaging startup Slack will join the party in June. But investment bank UBS recently warned that, should paltry quarterly results coincide with early private investors finally being allowed to sell their shares, this year’s loss-making debutants may be cast aside in favor of sturdy cash cows.

Zooming out: Chewing on new investment trends.

It’s not all bad: shares of British bakery chain Greggs rose 15% on Tuesday after it raised its annual profit forecast for the third time this year, partly thanks to insatiable appetites for its vegan sausage rolls. More consumers are cutting their meat consumption, and investors are salivating: Impossible Foods, upstart rival to Beyond Meat, raised $300 million on Monday. And old-school agricultural firm Cargill on Tuesday bit into an Israeli lab-grown meat startup.

Originally posted as part of the Finimize daily email.

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