It its latest market and economic forecast, Bank of America warned of a collapsing U.S. labor market and a potential rise in unemployment next year. Strategists also recommended selling any stock market rally ahead of a likely surge in job losses.
“Bears (like us) worry unemployment in 2023 will be as shocking to main Street consumer sentiment as inflation in 2022,” wrote Chief Investment Strategist Michael Hartnett, who also revealed that global equity funds were having their biggest weekly outflow in three months. Hartnett also said strategists recommend selling rallies from here and reiterated his preference for bonds over stocks in the first half of next year.
Global equity funds saw $14.1 billion of outflows in the latest week, led by exits from U.S. stocks, the biggest weekly outflow in three months. BofA strategists also said that $6.1 billion was being withdrawn from exchange-traded funds (ETFs) and $8.1 billion from mutual funds.
BofA said its Bull & Bear Indicator rose to 2.0 from 1.4 in the latest week, indicating that the “buy signal” for risk assets like stocks is almost over. The indicator stood at the highest since May 2022 on more bullish bond inflows, credit technicals, and hedge fund positioning.