Mounting cash pile could be bullish for stocks

It seems everyone loves cash right now. Bank of America data shows a record $5.3 trillion (€4.9 trillion) is parked in US money market funds, following inflows totalling $588 billion in the last 10 weeks alone.

To put that in perspective, it exceeds the $500 billion in inflows seen in the aftermath of Lehman Brothers’s 2008 collapse. Of course, much of this money might have been resting in US bank accounts, were it not for recent upheavals in the US banking sector.

This aside, it’s clear rising rates are a factor in the recent surge in inflows, with many people choosing to earn decent risk-free returns rather than take their chances in the stock market. Retail investors have been bearish for some time, as confirmed by weekly American Association of Individual Investors polls. Professional investors, too, are cautious, with cash levels remaining elevated in recent Bank of America fund manager surveys.

There is a mountain of cash on the sidelines right now. The bullish take is that overstretched bearish positioning may yet help fuel the next market rally, with some of the growing cash pile moving into stocks in the event of unexpectedly good economic data.