Investor sentiment for equities continues to sour – IPE survey
IPE - Investor sentiment for equities has soured in recent months as concerns have grown over the state of the global economy and as the euro sovereign debt crisis has intensified.
Bullish sentiment peaked in May and has been on the slide since then as the US and Chinese economies have been slowing.
More than 80% of those polled were bullish on US equities in May - this had slipped to 71% in July and is now down to 69%.
A similar story has unfolded in the survey on euro-zone, UK and Asian equities.
Perhaps not surprisingly, the euro-zone is where sentiment has worsened the most - those positive has declined from 65% in July to 57% this month.
The only market where sentiment seems to have improved is in Japan.
However, it should be noted that sentiment had fallen sharply in June, and it has only edged higher in the last two months.
In August, the number of respondents who were positive on the Japanese market moved up to 54% from 53% in July.
However, this level of optimism is still below that seen in all the other markets, with Japan's weak economy and unsupportive demographics continuing to keep many investors away.
There has been little change in bond market views this month, with those surveyed predominantly bearish given the low level of yields available in the core markets.
Although many economic numbers have been coming in below expectations in the last three months, the number of bond bulls has been steady at around 10% across the different markets.
The only sizeable shift this month has been in Europe, where we have seen a decline in those that were neutral and an increase in those who are bearish.
The percentage expecting higher yields in the euro-zone has jumped from 54% to 60%, likely as a result of the ongoing debt crisis in the peripheral European markets, where there continues to be disagreement between politicians and central bankers on how to resolve the situation.
Meanwhile, softer economic numbers in the US have kept the dollar under pressure in recent weeks, and sentiment toward the currency has become less optimistic vis-à-vis the Japanese yen and British pound.
However, the balance of bulls versus bears has moved in favour of the dollar when evaluated versus the euro.
Earlier this year, the euro had been trading strongly, supported by a hawkish European Central Bank.
However, in recent weeks, the debt crisis has become an increasingly important driving force, which is putting the euro under pressure and causing sentiment toward the euro to deteriorate.
The IPE Investment Manager Expectations Indicator represents the results of a regular monthly survey of asset managers with one or more European segregated mandates. The 6-12 month views of the 97 respondents to this month's questionnaire for equities are show here.
Iheshan Faasee is client portfolio manager for EMEA client strategies at Russell Investments