It’s finally happening: Money is moving out of bonds and into stocks.
In a note to clients out Monday, Deutsche Bank strategist Andreas Bruckner and team asked whether that the election of Donald Trump could trigger the “great unwind” in markets, or the movement of money out of bonds and into stocks.
Last week, US stock funds saw their largest inflows as a percent of the fund’s net asset value in about two years.
On Monday, stocks in the US hit record highs across the board. The Dow, S&P 500, Nasdaq, and Russell 2000 all made a record high for the first time since December 31, 1999.
“Expectations of a looser US fiscal policy added fuel to the reflationary fire, triggering a bond sell-off across regions and classes on the one hand while also arranging for a strong return of equity inflows on the other hand,” Deutsche Bank writes.
It is the one-two punch of Trump’s pledged fiscal stimulus plans — namely a $1 trillion infrastructure package — along with a tax cut that has investors getting out in front of expected higher growth and higher inflation. These policies, markets anticipate, would be good for stocks and bad for bonds.
“If such stimulus in combination with reduced business regulation were to lead US GDP growth higher (as our US economists expect), we could finally see a normalization of flows whereby money rotates out of over-allocated bond funds ($1tn of inflows since 2009) and into DM equities ($400bn of inflows since 2009),” Deutsche Bank writes.
“Last week’s bond-to-equity pull was strong in the US, and if rates continue rising this should go on.”
The “over-allocation” to bond funds, Deutsche Bank notes, is the long-observed imbalance of money going into fixed income over stocks. Since 2009, bond funds have seen inflows equal to about 60% of NAV against inflows of a more modest 5% or so for stock funds.
Record low interest rates and fears over “secular stagnation,” or the idea that the global economy will grow at a slower pace for longer, have kept the appetite for bonds high. It has also been famously unprofitable to call for an end to what is now a roughly 40-year bull market in bonds (this is known as the “The Widowmaker” trade).
In a big call-out last week, Ray Dalio at Bridgewater Associates wrote that Trump’s election likely ushers in an ideological shift in markets that will see the norms we’ve come to accept over the last decade or so will reverse.
As a result, Dalio wrote, “We probably have made both the secular low in inflation and the secular low in bond yields relative to inflation.”
Myles Udland is a writer at Yahoo Finance.