Fund managers are extremely bearish, allocation to cash at highest level since 2001

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Fund managers are extremely bearish, allocation to cash at highest level since 2001

A sign for a Bank of America office is pictured in Burbank, California.

LONDON Reuters fund managers are extremely bearish with average allocations to cash at the highest since 2001, and allocation to global stocks at an all-time low, according to Bank of America's monthly survey of fund managers for September.

The index is still down 16% this year after a bruising first half, as MSCI's gauge of stocks has rallied 3% so far in September.

The survey also marks a return to doom and gloom after August's iteration found investors were bearish but no longer apocalyptically so.

According to BofA, 212 investors overseeing $616 billion in assets from Sept. 2 -- 8, 72% of those surveyed said they expected a weaker economy next year, and the most crowded trade was the long U.S. dollar.

In times of economic difficulty, the U.S. currency is often seen as a safe haven.

The survey found that investors had a record underweight position in stocks, despite investors staying away from equities that typically rise in good times.

They found the net percentage of investors who said they were overweight was - 52% compared to - 26% the previous month, a lower level than during the financial crisis.