Equity mutual funds are burning through cash at the fastest rate in 18 years, leaving them with the smallest reserves since 2007 in a sign that gains for the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index may slow.
Cash dropped to 3.6 percent of assets from 5.7 percent in January 2009, leaving managers with $172 billion in the quickest decrease since 1991, Investment Company Institute data show. The last time stock managers held such a small proportion was September 2007, a month before the S&P 500 began a 57 percent drop, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
The last time before that was never (via sentimentrader.com). And a year ago, at the bottom, funds held nearly twice as much cash as they do today. So I think it’s safe to say this is a fairly accurate contrarian indicator.
Disclosure: long SDS