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Equities provide cheer, but bonds out of favour

Equities provide cheer, but bonds out of favour

December 16 2009 – Domestic and international equities remain in favour with New Zealand investment managers in the lead up to the festive season Russell Investments’ latest quarterly survey shows.

But while their main focus may be on finding any further value in equities, the managers are keeping a weather eye on the exchange rate.

The managers expect stronger economic growth in 2010 with business and consumer confidence gathering pace toward the end of the year. But they agree the strength of any economic recovery will be dependent on the level of the NZ dollar, especially against the US dollar.

The Russell survey, one of a series that the global investment management consulting business conducts throughout the world, was done in New Zealand in the second week of December. Seven key NZ managers responded.

The NZ managers’ bullish view of the value in equities mirrors that of their colleagues in Australia and the United States. International equities were particularly attractive to all the respondents in New Zealand.

In contrast NZ bonds and international bonds were out of favour. This is consistent with the findings in the other Russell surveys. Increasing cash rates in Australia drove bearishness in that market, while in the US low yielding US Treasuries provided little cause to celebrate. The outlook for corporate bonds and high-yield bonds was more bearish too.

Sentiment toward cash by US and NZ managers, markets where the central bank has yet to raise interest rates, also remain bearish. However, Australian managers are becoming more neutral to Australian cash following the Reserve Bank of Australia’s recent rate rises.

This quarter Russell’s NZ survey also sought managers’ views on the state of the economic recovery (if any). They were asked if they thought NZ was already in the next bull market, if the post-March rally in financial markets was nearly over, whether they thought that while the worst was over, if they expected periodic aftershocks, or whether they haῤ serious concerns about the stabῩlity of the world™s financial system.

Consistent with their responses to the other questions, the majority considered the post-March really to be nearly over with asset prices approaching fair values. None expressed deep concern about the stability or strength of global financial markets.


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