Equity Investors Too Bullish? 

Terry Flanagan

Julian Wellesley, senior analyst, global equities at fund manager Loomis Sayles, said investors are not sufficiently cautious in the equities market and the Eurozone will approach another crisis next year.

Wellesley told Markets Media that the overall picture for global financial stocks is that investors are being too bullish in equities.

“There are different signals in other financial markets such as the  bond markets,” he added. “However it is hard to know where else investors should put their money as they have a lack of choices.”

Wellesley said the US is seen as last safe place to hide.

The CFA Institute Global Market Sentiment Survey found that, as last year, the US and China remain the top picks for equity performance in the coming year. The survey said: “Members chose the US more than three times more often than any other market—perhaps because they view the US market as a safe haven in an uncertain world.”

The CFA Institute conducted an online survey between 14 and 28 October 2014. All 119,817 CFA Institute members were invited to participate and 5,259 responded, for an overall response rate of 4% and a margin of error of ±1.3%.

The respondents in the CFA survey said 2015 might be a year of very nominal gains in the markets. The survey predicted that the S&P 500 Index will rise 4.8%, the Euro Stoxx 50 will increase 1.9%, the Nikkei 225 will go up 1.6% from 30 September 2014 to the end of next year.

The CFA Institute said: “Since the time the survey was conducted, there have been significant downward movements in the price of crude; the survey’s respondents seem to suggest that this is more indicative of shorter-term volatility than a secular decline in oil prices.”

Wellesley said the lower oil price and sanctions will have an impact on the Russian economy. “Russia will be heading into a crisis fairly quickly,” he added.

Overall, 51% of members forecast that the effect on energy prices caused by global unrest in Ukraine and the Middle East will negatively impact their local markets.

Wellesley added that many people in the Eurozone are feeling austerity fatigue after years of high unemployment and deteriorating living standards which is leading to the rise in popularity of far-right and far-left political parties ahead of national elections in Spain, Portugal and possibly Greece next year.

“In 2011 the Eurozone came close to a breakup and we will approach this again in 2015,” said Wellesley

Despite the downside risks, Wellesley said there are still opportunities in the global financial sector for stock pickers and Loomis Sayles looks for firms with a strong management team, prospects for strong structural growth and high free cashflow.

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