The only bright spot was Japan, where sentiment hit its highest level since the end of 2005.
Growing bullishness on Japan is the continuation of a trend which began in Q4 2012, when Shinzo Abe’s Liberal Democratic Party swept to power on a platform of economic reform. As Expert Investor Europe reported last month, many asset allocators have since “normalised” their Japanese stock weightings, as demonstrated by the Bank of America Merrill Lynch Global Fund Manager Survey.true
However, upbeat views on Japan contrast starkly with those on other equity regions – notably Asia Pacific excluding Japan, where our sentiment reading declined by more than 20 points in March (see chart).
Manager expectations for western and emerging market stocks have also deteriorated since February, although overall sentiment remains “neutral” and “bullish” respectively.
The Manager Sentiment Survey is based on data gathered monthly by Skandia from fund managers operating in Europe. Participating groups in March were: Allianz Global Investors, Axa Framlington, Barings, BlackRock, F&C, Fidelity, GLG, Henderson, Ignis, Invesco Perpetual, JP Morgan, Kames Capital, M&G, Newton, Old Mutual Global Investors, Pictet, Schroders and SWIP.
Platinum members can view full results from the latest survey here.