March 6, 2020 / 9:28 AM / 23 days ago

Investors dump equities, bonds as coronavirus spooks markets, BofA says

A trader works on the floor at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York City, U.S., March 5, 2020. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly

LONDON (Reuters) - Investors pulled out of most asset classes, with stocks and bond funds seeing a combined $36 billion of outflows in the week to Wednesday, BofA said, amid fears of economic damage from the coronavirus epidemic.

Stock markets have been selling off since mid-February, wiping out roughly $6.5 trillion of market values, as the number of coronavirus cases climbed higher.

Analysts at BofA, parsing weekly data from flow tracking specialist EPFR, said $23.3 billion was pulled out of equity funds and $12.6 billion had left bond funds, the most since December 2018.

The data also showed risk-averse investors withdrew $5.3 billion from emerging-market equities, the most in 30 weeks.

Investment-grade, high-yield and emerging- equity saw the biggest drawdown since the 2013 ‘taper tantrum’ — the U.S. Federal Reserve’s first hint it would reduce a stimulus program installed during the financial crisis.

Meanwhile, Deutsche Bank said it is “much too early” to declare the stock market sell-off is over. It expects a 15% to 20% drop in the S&P 500 from its latest peak.

The benchmark U.S. equities index has so far fallen 10.7% to 3023.94 points from the record highs it touched on February 19. Deutsche Bank sees the index hitting a bottom “some time” in the second quarter and recovering from there to 3,250 points by the end of the year.

Reporting by Thyagaraju Adinarayan; editing by Larry King

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