Geneva harbours the largest relative proportion of bulls in Europe for both US and European equities. Though Pan-European sentiment towards US equities has dropped sharply in recent months, the asset class has grown in popularity with Geneva-based fund selectors. Pan-European appetite for US stocks was at an all-time high in the first half of 2013, when EIE’s previous Geneva conference was held. At that time, only 38% of Geneva’s fund buyers was going to increase their exposure to the asset class. Right now, there is no place in Europe with more US equity bulls than Geneva. While Pan-European sentiment to the asset class is now net negative, Geneva has three times more bulls than bears.
Sector funds do the trick
Our researcher found that the large interest in US equity funds was for a large part driven by the abundance of sector-specific funds on the US market. About half of the fund selectors who said they are going to increase their exposure to US equities said they were going to do so by stepping up their investments in such theme funds. Besides sector funds, socially responsible investing (SRI) is a hot topic with Geneva’s asset allocators. A considerable amount of interviewees showed interest in it.
Pan-European US equity sentiment
Cards on Greece
European stocks remain the most popular asset class with Geneva’s fund buyers, with two thirds of interviewees increasing their exposure and just one third decreasing it. While local fund selectors planned to increase their allocations to mid- and small cap funds last year, there was no preference for a specific sector or category within European equities. One country was mentioned by three different fund selectors though, as offering opportunities in the equity space: Greece. According to these fund buyers, it is exactly the right time to invest in Greek equities now as they stand to profit from the beginning of the recovery in that country. Greece was the only peripheral euro country mentioned, as the momentum in other crisis-ridden countries like Portugal, Spain and Italy seems to have passed already.