OREANDA-NEWS. Investors are expressing growing skepticism that the U.S. Federal Reserve (Fed) will raise rates this year amid fragility in the global economy and earnings, according to the BofA Merrill Lynch Fund Manager Survey for October.
  • Fewer than half (47 percent) of investors believe the Fed will raise rates in 2015, down from 58 percent in September.
  • A net 19 percent of the panel says global fiscal policy is too restrictive.
  • Cash balances fell to 5.1 percent of portfolios, down from 5.5 percent last month, but remain above historic average levels.
  • A growing majority of investors (net 26 percent) say that corporate operating margins will decrease in the coming year, up from a net 18 percent.
  • Short Emerging Market Equities was named the most crowded trade in October by 23 percent of the panel, up from 20 percent.
  • China is seen as the greatest “tail risk” by 39 percent of the panel, down from 54 percent in September, while pessimism over Chinese equities eased.

“As investors debate the timing of a rate hike, they should be anticipating a massive policy shift in the U.S., Europe and Japan from QE to fiscal stimulus in 2016,” said Michael Hartnett, chief investment strategist at BofA Merrill Lynch Global Research.

Fund Manager Survey
An overall total of 209 panelists with US$512 billion of assets under management participated in the survey October 2–8, 2015. A total of 164 managers, managing US$401 billion, participated in the global survey. A total of 102 managers, managing US$213 billion, participated in the regional surveys. The survey was conducted by BofA Merrill Lynch Global Research with the help of market research company TNS. Through its international network in more than 50 countries, TNS provides market information services in over 80 countries to national and multi-national organizations. It is ranked as the fourth-largest market information group in the world.

BofA Merrill Lynch Global Research
The BofA Merrill Lynch Global Research franchise covers almost 3,400 stocks and 1,200 credits globally and ranks in the top tier in many external surveys. Most recently, the group was named Top Global Research Firm of 2014 by Institutional Investor magazine; No. 1 in the 2015 Institutional Investor All-America survey; No. 1 in the 2015 Institutional Investor Latin America survey; No. 1 in the Institutional Investor 2015 Emerging EMEA Survey; No. 1 in the 2015 All-Europe Fixed Income survey; No. 2 in the 2015 Institutional Investor All-Asia survey; and No. 2 in the 2015 All-America Fixed Income survey for the fourth consecutive year. The group was also named No. 2 in the 2014 All-China survey.

Bank of America
Bank of America is one of the world's leading financial institutions, serving individual consumers, small and middle-market businesses and large corporations with a full range of banking, investing, asset management and other financial and risk management products and services. The company provides unmatched convenience in the United States, serving approximately 48 million consumer and small business relationships with approximately 4,800 retail financial centers, approximately 16,000 ATMs, and award-winning online banking with 31 million active users and approximately 18 million mobile users. Bank of America is among the world's leading wealth management companies and is a global leader in corporate and investment banking and trading across a broad range of asset classes, serving corporations, governments, institutions and individuals around the world. Bank of America offers industry-leading support to approximately 3 million small business owners through a suite of innovative, easy-to-use online products and services. The company serves clients through operations in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico and more than 35 countries. Bank of America Corporation stock (NYSE: BAC) is listed on the New York Stock Exchange.