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Bank of America: We are witnessing a stock market 'exodus'

Investors pulled a whopping $44 billion out of the stock market in the past five weeks.

Moses leads the exodus. (Image: Movieclips/YouTube)

Amid the recent volatility in the markets, investors have been pulling funds out of equities.

"The 2015 retreat from US equities by retail investors appeared to be fading as 2016 got off to a less onerous start," Credit Suisse's Lori Calvasina said on Thursday. "But the improving trend has reversed, with severe outflows seen in April."

According to a new report from Bank of America Merrill Lynch, equity funds saw $7.4 billion in outflows in the past week.

It's an equity exodus. (Image: Bank of America Merrill Lynch)
It's an equity exodus. (Image: Bank of America Merrill Lynch)

The cumulative outflow from equity funds over the past five weeks was $44 billion. BAML's Michael Hartnett, who characterized this as an "equity exodus," noted that this was the largest redemption over a 5-week period since August 2011.

So where is that money going?

In the past week, $3.5 billion went into bond funds and $1.0 billion went into precious metals funds, which offer exposure to gold. There was also $10.9 billion poured into money market funds, the largest inflow in 13 weeks.

In other words investors are playing the safe-haven assets.

And it's not just the US experiencing an outflow in equity funds.

"Flows to international equity funds turned negative, while outflows from Europe funds persisted," Calvasina observed.

The S&P 500 (^GSPC) hasn't done much since late March, rallying on some days and falling on others.

Experts ranging from hedge fund managers to Wall Street equity strategists have become increasingly wary of the markets.

"While the current recovery cycle is often cited for its long duration (fourth longest since 1900), the fact that organic growth has been weak and unbalanced is often understated," JPMorgan's Dubravko Lakos-Bujas said in a note to clients on Wednesday.

Sam Ro is managing editor at Yahoo Finance. Read more:

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