According to Bank of America Merrill Lynch’s most recent survey, money managers are 20% underweight U.S. equities. (The survey was conducted from July 7 to July 13.) Managers haven’t been this underweight since January 2008. At that point the Standard & Poor’s 500 was near a peak before crashing in the global financial crisis.
The underweighting is a result of valuation. “A net 80% of investors think the United States is the most overvalued region,” Merrill Lynch reported. That’s down, but only slight from June when 84% of the managers surveyed called the U.S. market the world’s most over-valued.
The NASDAQ Composite Index ranked as the most crowded trade in the survey for a third straight month. Banks overtook tech stocks as the most overweighted sector in the survey. That hasn’t prevented the NASDAQ from hitting a new all time high this week as money chases this “most crowded” trade.