Healthcare stocks saw a record $2.6 billion in redemptions in the week to Wednesday on “U.S. election noise,” BofA said on Friday, as investors turned their attention to the pivotal November vote.
The presidential election will be a risk factor for markets after a shift in polls that has seen President Donald Trump lose ground to Democrat Joe Biden. A Biden victory could threaten policies championed by Trump and generally favored by Wall Street.
Outflows from healthcare stocks could also in part be due to profit-taking after the sector’s strong outperformance year-to-date as defensive stocks were largely insulated from the coronavirus-led shocks.
Equity funds in general fell out of favor with $6.4 billion being pulled out as an increase in pockets of rising coronavirus infection numbers in the U.S. curbed risk appetite. Bonds meanwhile saw inflows of $15.4 billion.
Money market funds, which saw a record $1.2 trillion inflows year-to-date, continued to see redemptions with $16.4 billion going out as investors favored bonds over cash, BofA’s data crunching for the week to June 17 showed.
“Cash heading into bonds not stocks,” BofA said, pointing to $3.5 billion flowing out of European stocks and a combined $3.3 billion leaving financials and U.S. value stocks, firms whose fundamental worth is not reflected in their share price.
Stock markets have been wobbly recently after having reduced COVID-19 related losses to less than 10% aided by a combined 134 interest rate cuts by central banks around the world and stimulus measures worth well over $18 trillion.
“After a 30%+ rally since mid-March, the market is caught between signs of a strengthening macro recovery, on the one hand, and concerns about a rise in Covid-19 cases in some US states, on the other,” BofA said in a note.
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