A staggering $17.5 billion was recently taken out of global equities by investors. According to Bank of America, they're just getting started.

On February 16, 2022, people stroll down Wall Street near the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York City.

Is it possible that the bears are just getting started?

That's the question presented by Bank of America strategists, who reported on Friday that investors took $17.5 billion out of global equities in the previous week, the largest weekly outflow so far this year.

They warned that the outflows might get worse. Nasdaq peak inflows to equities have happened in 16 of 20 weeks since November 2021, totaling $229 billion, while private clients have purchased stocks in 17 of 20 weeks, according to Bank of America's Michael Hartnett, who provided the graphic below:

In addition, investors withdrew $8.7 billion from bonds and $55.4 billion from cash, investing $900 million in gold. That was before Friday's stock market meltdown, which saw the S&P 500 SPX, -2.77 percent drop 2.8 percent and the Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA, -2.82 percent drop 981.36 points, or 2.8 percent. The S&P 500 is down 10.4% year to far, while the Dow is down 7%. After a 2.5 percent plunge on Friday, the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite COMP, -2.55 percent is down 17.9 percent in 2022.

Breaking down some of the equities withdrawals, Bank of America strategists observed that Europe experienced its 10th consecutive weekly outflow – $2.9 billion — while $1.6 billion left financials as money flowed back into purchasing the technology sector fall. Meanwhile, materials had an 8-week high in inflows.

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