Fri, Jul 16, 2010 - Page 11 News List

Local investors remain optimistic over economy

OPPORTUNITY KNOCKSIncreased activity is expected in the energy, resources, electrical machinery, materials and information and telecoms sectors this quarter

By Joyce Huang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Local investors remained optimistic, with Taiwan’s sentiment index outperforming that in China and Hong Kong in the second quarter of this year, ING Asia Pacific’s quarterly investor dashboard survey showed yesterday.

While Taiwan’s index dipped 13 points to 131, indexes in China and Hong Kong declined by 27 and 24 points to 127 and 124 respectively in the second quarter, the survey found.

Sentiment in Taiwan was positively impacted by the signing of the Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement, although the trade pact’s fundamental impact will be felt over time, Ashwin Mehta, CEO of ING Securities Investment Trust (Taiwan) Ltd (安泰證券投信), said in a press statement.

He expects market volatility to remain in the short run, both at home and abroad.

Right now “continuing investments into regular savings plans is prudent, but for those investors willing to take a more aggressive stance, this could also be the time to make selective investments to take advantage of market consolidation or fluctuations and buy at relative lows to readjust or supplement their portfolios,” he said.

Domestic investors also displayed a higher degree of optimism about the local economy in the second and third quarters, with second-quarter readings for household finances, personal finances and return on investment the survey showed.

Across the survey’s 12 Asian markets, the index decreased to 136 in the second quarter from the previous quarter’s 145, but stayed in the “optimistic” zone for the fifth consecutive quarter. The pan-Asia index last peaked at 147 in the fourth quarter of last year.

“The second pullback during the ongoing recovery ... could be attributed to signs of the recovery slowing down, China opting for a tightening bias and the European sovereign debt crisis,” the financial services institution said.

On a country basis, Indian investors were the most optimistic, with the index staying at 172, followed by the Philippines with 157 and Malaysia with 141, while Japanese investors were the least optimistic, with the index there dropping to 84 in the second quarter.

Cash deposits, local stocks and self-occupied residential property remained Asian investors’ top three investment instruments last quarter, as investment behavior remained cautious, the statement said.

More investors were inclined to place their bets on overseas mutual funds and unit trusts, foreign currencies and gold, while only a small percentage were ready to invest more in real estate ING said.

This quarter, the firm said the most promising industries would be energy; resources; electrical machinery and precision equipment; materials and information and telecommunications.

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