Investor confidence in global economic growth remains high even as expectations of higher short-term rates increase, according to the BofA Merrill Lynch Fund Manager Survey for April.

The number of investors believing the global economy will grow over the next 12 months was steady at a bullish 62%, unchanged from March and higher than the 56% in February. That view supports expectations for profits—44% of investors believe profits will improve over the next 12 months, up from 40% in March and the same as in February.

However, expectations of higher short-term rates are growing, with 66% believing short rates will rise over the next 12 months, up from 55% in both March and February and the highest in three years.

This expectation of normalizing monetary policies, though, hasn’t changed sentiment on long-term rates much—72% believe they’ll be higher in 12 months, down slightly from 74% in March and 73% in February. Taken together, expectations for a steeper yield curve are falling away. Twenty-two percent of investors are expecting a steepening compared with 39% in March and 42% in February.

There was a big change in sentiment among investors when choosing between value and growth stocks. In April, 40% believed value stocks will outperform growth stocks over the next 12 months, more than triple the level in March and an all-time high.

The preference for value might offer one clue to the recent sell-off in technology and biotech stocks. “Recent market volatility has led investors to ‘taper’ their extreme bullishness on U.S. growth-plays and extreme bearishness on emerging markets,” said Michael Hartnett, chief investment strategist at BofA Merrill Lynch Global Research.

Sixty-six percent of global fund managers believe the United States is still the most overvalued equity market, little changed from March and February. That has many looking again at emerging markets. Fifty-five percent think these are undervalued, up from 49% in March and the highest reading ever. In addition, only 2% would like to underweight emerging markets, down sharply from 21%.

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Copyright © 2020 Transcontinental Media G.P. Originally published on benefitscanada.com

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