LONDON (Reuters) – Investors plowed $14.2 billion into global equity funds this week, the largest amount in a year as investors jumped on to 2019’s stock market rally, Bank of America Merrill Lynch said on Friday, citing flow data provider EPFR.
An index of global stocks is up more than 16 percent since the end of 2018 as falling market volatility and a renewed dovishness from global central banks, led by the U.S. Federal Reserve has boosted risk appetite across the board.
BAML said most of the inflows went into exchange traded funds while mutual funds saw net outflows.
U.S. equity funds were the biggest beneficiaries with net inflows of $25.5 billion while emerging markets saw net outflows.
European funds also saw $4.6 billion of outflows after the European Central Bank slashed its growth forecasts and signaled a cautious economic outlook at its latest policy meeting.
The appetite for risk spilled over into bond markets as well with investment grade debt notching up the eighth consecutive week of inflows.
Reporting by Saikat Chatterjee; Editing by Tommy Wilkes
LONDON (Reuters) – A $10 billion wipeout over the last week has compounded the worst start to a year for equity flows since 2008, Bank of America Merrill Lynch strategists said on Friday.
Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., March 7, 2019. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid
Citing data from flow-tracker EPFR, BAML’s analysts calculated that just over $60 billion has now been yanked out of equities this year. Almost $80 billion has been pulled from developed markets, while $18.5 billion has gone into emerging markets.
They added that last week also saw the fourth-biggest inflow on record into ‘investment grade’ bonds at $9.5 billion and that “Europe = Japan” – a reference to long-term aneamic growth and low interest rates – was now the most consensus trade in the world by their calculations.
“Europe = Japan is correct and consensus,” they said, though they also reckon European assets will outperform in the second quarter now that the European Central Bank has shifted back towards stimulus and there are signs of renewed growth emerging from China.
For many, the monster outflows from stocks will appear at odds with what has been a red-hot start to the year for equity markets.
Despite a wobble this week, MSCI’s main world share index has seen one of its best ever starts to a year thanks to surges of 20 percent or more for the likes of Wall Street’s S&P 500 and China’s main indexes.
The apparent disconnect could be explained by the fact that EPFR data captures only a portion of investment funds but also that firms themselves have been buying up their own shares this year after they became much cheaper last year.
Recent data from Biryinyi associates showed that U.S. companies had already announced plans to buy back nearly a quarter of a trillion dollars of their own stock by the end of February, which was up 7 percent on the same time a year ago.
BAML’s analysts noted separately meanwhile that this weekend marks 10 years since the post-financial crisis global equity bull run started.
During that time the value, or market capitalization, of U.S. stocks has surged by $21.3 trillion which is three times the $6.5 trillion overall rise in annual economic output of the U.S. economy.
The top three performers in the Dow Jones index have been plane maker Boeing, iPhone giant Apple and Unitedhealth Group, while the worst performers have been Walgreen, oil firm Exxon, and IT firm IBM.
Annualized total return since the March 2009 low have been 17.5 percent for the S&P 500, versus 13.8 percent by Japan’s Nikkei 225 and 9.3 percent for Europe’s STOXX 600.
“Ten years after Global Financial Crisis, Eurozone trapped in deflationary “Japanification” of growth & interest rates; EU rates unlikely to rise, EU equities in ‘value trap’” BAML’s analysts said.
In today’s data-driven world, marketers amass immense amounts of customer information through numerous sources such as analytics, CRMs and loyalty programs — all of which provide plenty of quantitative data about customers. This type of data offers the when, where, what and how of your customers’ interactions with your experiences. But critically, it does not provide the why.
Head of UX Research
Matt’s thought leadership in this article provides a glimpse into his work on WiderFunnel’s MotivationLab, the deep-dive research that provides insights about customers’ emotional needs and states for more impactful experimentation programs.
But what’s more, he shows you the secret to creating delightful customer experiences that increase wallet share and loyalty for years to come.
2. Experimentation in product development: How to maximize the customer experience
Innovative marketers have been doing website optimization for years. So what’s next?
Product experimentation is top-of-mind when it comes to scaling an experimentation program internally. That’s because there are more opportunities to maximize the customer experience.
I talked to several champions of product experimentation about their programs:
WiderFunnel works with some of the world’s biggest brands—such as Mark’s, SportChek, IBM, Square, and H&R Block—to help them gain unique insights into their customers. WiderFunnel can then validate those insights through experimentation in the real world, perfectly mixing both the creative side of a typical advertising agency while also embracing the data and scientific elements needed to deeply innovate the industry.
Staff Writer at Techvibes
3. The 5 pillars of digital transformation strategy at Mark’s: An interview with changemaker, Johnny Russo
Mark’s (formerly Mark’s Workwear House) is a retailer under the Canadian Tire umbrella that has risen to the top in recent years. Not only do their marketing teams receive nomination after nomination for their e-commerce experience, but the company is also leading the charge when it comes to digital transformation.
In this interview with Johnny Russo, Associate Vice President of Digital Marketing and E-commerce, we get an in-depth look at the five pillars of their digital transformation strategy that has fuelled their growth over the past few years: People, Partners, Culture, Education, and Change Management.
Johnny Russo is a true changemaker. He is passionate about digital transformation strategy and he is a definite thought leader in the e-commerce and retail space.
Having partnered with Mark’s for numerous years, Johnny also outlines how experimentation has underpinned their whole strategy. Testing is now how the team at Mark’s make decisions.
As marketers, we think we know it all. But testing actually confirms that we don’t. If we have an A/B test, one of them might be wrong. And we’re actually telling our senior executives, by doing this, we don’t know which one will win. We think we know, but at the end of the day, it’s based on data and customer experience and what customers want. It supersedes what our thought process is.
4. Winning Optimizely’s “Innovation Partner of the Year” award at Opticon
While in Las Vegas for Optimizely’s annual experimentation conference, Opticon, we were awarded their prestigious Innovation Partner of the Year award and we were ecstatic.
We were especially honored to be chosen by our colleagues at Optimizely for this award because of our early adoption of FullStack, their server-side experimentation platform.
They also praised our thought leadership in the world of experimentation, including our content, case studies, best practices, and of course, our “State of Experimentation Maturity 2018” original research report, that we co-created.
5. The “State of Experimentation Maturity 2018” original research report
With Optimizely, we surveyed marketers, product managers, and growth strategists at some of North America’s leading brands like Nike, United Airlines, Showtime, American Express, Hotwire.com, MailChimp and many more to create the “State of Experimentation Maturity 2018″ original research report.
We also interviewed dozens of Optimization Champions throughout our research to understand their opportunities, their pain points, and their efforts to scale their programs cross-organizationally.
We wanted to know what the most successful organizations were doing right, how they were scaling their experimentation program, and how they were integrating experimentation into their overarching business strategy.
If your marketing experimentation program consists of A/B testing email subject lines or landing pages, you have a long way to go. But here’s some good news: you aren’t the only one just getting started.
Natasha Wahid, Marketing Lead at WiderFunnel, who spearheaded the research project, also conducted a GrowthHackers AMA in June, diving into the research process and data analysis.
And our conversations and insights fuelled our content for months afterward. Posts like…
6. Evangelizing experimentation: A strategy for scaling your organization’s test and learn culture
After talking to numerous Optimization Champions, we realized that most companies wanted to strategically communicate the value of their experimentation programs internally to incite organizational buy-in from other departments and the Executive team.
It was an interesting take on building a culture of experimentation, a topic that has quickly accelerated over the year.
For this post, we gained insights from leaders in the field including:
Alex Birkett, then Growth Marketing Manager and recently promoted to Senior Growth Marketing Manager, User Acquisition at Hubspot
Andrew Capland, then Director of Growth and now Director of Marketing at Wistia;
Ralph Chochlac, Former Director of Product Management at Student Brands;
and Lauren Schuman, Director of Growth at MailChimp.
This comprehensive guide to strategic communications for your experimentation program provides best practices and tactics for scaling your test-and-learn culture.
8. BCBusiness’ “Office Space: WiderFunnel Embraces Team Spirit”
In July, the WiderFunnel were excited to get the print and web editions of BCBusiness, featuring our new office space. We moved in August 2017 and this year we’ve been featured in numerous publications, including the Vancouver Sun.
Editor Felicity Stone came to do a tour of our space with intern Aleena Deandra and the resulting article showcased exactly what makes the WiderFunnel office so special.
The Vancouver-based company leased a space with spectacular views of downtown and Burrard Inlet, then surveyed staff about what they needed to be productive and creative. The result is a workplace that accommodates various working styles, thanks to wireless technology, so team members can change locations throughout the day. Since employees moved in last August, their happiness scores have increased by 51 percent.
Aleena Deandra and Felicity Stone
Especially interesting to note is that we recently expanded our office by an additional 1600 square feet this past fall!
9. Reaching #21 on Business in Vancouver’s Fastest Growing Companies in BC
At WiderFunnel, 2018 was a year of growth. We nearly doubled our employee count. We expanded our office space. And we worked with more and more Optimization Champions to scale their experimentations programs across their entire organizations.
And it’s probably a big reason why we reached #21 on Business in Vancouver’s list of the Top 100 Fastest Growing Companies in British Columbia.
For context, we were delighted by our #43 standing in 2017, so when we saw our 2018 results we were astonished.
But we’re not done yet. Stay tuned in 2019 for more exciting developments in the world of experimentation.
Get ready for 2019.
The world of business is changing quickly.
Instead of backtracking on failed strategies and tactics, organizations can pave their way to success, proving they are on the right path through experimentation.
As business leaders, we are the cusp of even more transformation in 2019. Because those organizations, that are able to gather insights and spread those insights throughout their organization will change at a pace far greater than they have in the past.
What do business leaders need to consider as they plan for 2019? We’d love to hear your perspective!
Marketing Communications Specialist
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