Stephen Cranston Associate editor

Fund manager surveys are often contraindicators, reflecting exuberance just before the global financial crisis or piling into platinum shares just before they turned down. But at times their views become self-fulfilling as they move in packs into certain sectors and regions. The Bank of America Merrill Lynch survey shouldn’t read as a tip sheet but it is a good reflection of the way the big fund managers are thinking. Merrill Lynch itself was known as the thundering herd, as it had thousands of salesmen around the US, mostly extroverts of Irish descent. It titles its global fund manager survey, with apologies to the late Hunter S Thompson, Fear But No Loathing. There were 176 participants in the survey. In effect Merrill has corralled a new herd. The panellists believe there are cracks in the bull case: the prospect of US President Donald Trump setting off a trade war, stagnation combined with inflation (known as stagflation) and the amount of leverage in the financial system after ...

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