Bonds are winning over gold in a battle for investors’ favored haven ahead of the annual Jackson Hole symposium, according to Bank of America Corp.
Fixed-income funds attracted $13.3 billion in inflows, the most in seven weeks, according to a BofA note citing EPFR Global data for the week through Wednesday. The reallocations were skewed toward investment-grade debt and Treasuries, with high-yield and emerging-market bonds seeing outflows. Precious metals including gold, on the other hand, had the largest outflow since March at $1.4 billion.
The flows come as yields on high-quality debt rebounded from a six-month low seen earlier in August, according to the Bloomberg Indices Global Aggregate index. The data suggest investors are confident a rapid and sudden selloff will be avoided after Jackson Hole, where Chair Jerome Powell is expected to reiterate the likelihood of the central bank tapering its $120-billion-a-month bond program by year-end.
Ahead of the gathering, three of the Fed’s leading hawks called for the central bank to move quickly to scale back its asset purchases. Dallas Fed President Robert Kaplan said he favors an announcement at the central bank’s September meeting, with implementation in October or shortly after. St. Louis’s James Bullard called for a start in the fall — finishing by the end of the first quarter in 2022, while Kansas City Fed’s Esther George urged an early move begin this year.
It might also signal a belief that excessive inflation, which can eat into bond returns while boosting the appeal of gold, will be kept in check. Bullion is down over 5% in 2021 on changing expectations around the longevity of the massive monetary and fiscal stimulus that were a key pillar of its surge to a record last year.
Inflows into equity funds continued with $12.6 billion, led by addition to U.S. stocks, according to the BofA note. Investors continued to shift into technology stocks for the ninth week in addition to the more defensive healthcare sector, while more cyclical industries, such as materials and energy, saw outflows.