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Fund Managers Chilling Out About China, See No Fed Rate Hike in 2015

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Most investors in Bank of America Merrill Lynch’s October fund manager survey are doubtful that the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates in 2015.

Only 47% of investors believed a Fed rate hike would happen this year, down from 58% who expected one in the September survey.

“As investors debate the timing of a rate hike, they should be anticipating a massive policy shift in the U.S., Europe and Japan from [quantitative easing] to fiscal stimulus in 2016,” Michael Hartnett, chief investment strategist at BofA Merrill Lynch Global Research, said in a statement.

A net 19% of the panel told researchers that global fiscal policy was too restrictive.

The survey, conducted from Oct. 2 to Oct. 8, polled 209 participants managing $512 billion of assets.

Thirty-nine percent of panelists still considered China the biggest “tail risk,” but their ranks were much reduced from 54% in September. Pessimism over Chinese equities had eased, according to the poll.

Not so global emerging markets, as 23% of the panel named short emerging markets equities the most crowded trade, up from 20% in September.

A net 26% of investors said corporate operating margins would fall in 2016, up from a net 18% in the September survey.

Cash balances in October fell to 5.1% of portfolios, down from the 2008 crisis level of 5.5% last month, but they were still above historic average levels.

— Check out China, Brazil Cause Headaches for Emerging Market Investors on ThinkAdvisor.