Investors fled stocks in August
Investors took money out of stocks and piled into cash as market swung wildly. Stocks made up less than half of investors' model portfolios, according to poll of global investment houses.
Global investors slashed their holdings of equities below 50 percent this month and piled into cash, reflecting what was lining up to be the worst August for world stocks since 1998.Skip to next paragraph
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It was the lowest since at least February 2009, when the current questionnaire was introduced. July's reading was 52.2 percent, the second month in a row that it had risen.
Bond holdings rose to 36.1 percent in August from 35.3 percent. Cash -- where investors go in times of trouble -- jumped to 5.8 percent from 4.5 percent.
The moves came as investors fled riskier assets because of signs that the global economy is worsening. The month also saw the credit downgrading of the United States and the euro zone debt crisis continuing.
"While we had been expecting a 'soft patch' in terms of economic data during the summer months, the weakness evident in many macroeconomic releases has proven to be greater than many market participants had predicted," said Paul Amer, investment manager at Insight Investment.
MSCI's all-country world stock index, one of the broadest gauges of world stocks, lost around 7.75 percent in the month with less than one day of trading to go.
This was likely to be the worst monthly performance since May last year and the worst August since 1998, when it dropped more than 14 percent during the Russian default crisis.
Among the most radical moves in the past month was that by Germany's Deka Bank, which dumped all its equity holdings.