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Fund managers are worried about 'bubble-like' stock prices

A trader blows a chewing gum bubble as he works on the floor of the NYSE. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

A record number of fund managers are worried about stock prices as equities continue to reach new highs, according to Bank of America Merrill Lynch’s monthly fund manager survey.

The survey found that a net 44% of fund managers believe stocks are overvalued, up from 37% in May.

Underlying this sentiment is concern about tech stocks.

Three-quarters of fund managers surveyed think internet stocks are “expensive” or “bubble-like,” with 57% responding with “expensive” and 18% with “bubble-like.”

Bank of America Fund Manager Survey

BAML’s survey respondents include 180 fund managers managing a total of $513 billion in assets.

High-flying tech stocks have boosted the performance of the major market indices like the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq this year. Facebook (FB), Apple (AAPL), Amazon (AMZN), Microsoft (MSFT), and Alphabet (GOOGL), collectively the “FAAMG” stocks, have accounted for a third of the S&P 500’s entire gains year-to-date, UBS’s Julian Emanuel noted in a recent report.

“Dissecting US stock market returns through the end of May reveals that the Technology sector, up 20% so far this year and up 34% over the last 12 months, has accounted for 41% of the upside in the S&P 500,” Bank of America Merrill Lynch’s Michael Hartnett noted. “Technology stocks currently represent over 22% of S&P 500 total market capitalization – a level last reached in January 2001.”

According to the survey, 38% of fund managers think long Nasdaq is the most crowded trade right now, while 19% think it’s going long European stocks.

In terms of regions, 84% of investors surveyed by Bank of America think the U.S. is the most overvalued region, a new all-time high. Meanwhile, a net 18% of investors think European stocks are undervalued, while 48% think emerging market stocks remain undervalued.


Julia La Roche is a finance reporter at Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter.