Sat, Dec 18, 2010 - Page 12 News List

Investors bullish on economic growth

RECOVERY AHEAD:Upbeat sentiment has been linked to growing confidence in the job market, with nearly 60 percent saying the job situation was better than six months ago

By Crystal Hsu  /  STAFF REPORTER

Global fund managers and Taiwan investors are likely to increase holdings in local shares and other assets for the rest of the year amid a bullish outlook about the economy and improving consumer confidence, two separate surveys showed yesterday.

Fund managers from Allianz Global Investors, Baring Asset Management, BlackRock, Franklin Templeton Investment and other global firms are taking an over-weighted position on assets in emerging markets overall and in Asia-Pacific -minus-Japan in the final quarter of this year, a survey by HSBC said.

In Taipei trading yesterday, the benchmark TAIEX closed up 0.41 percent, or 35.7 points, to 8,817.9, Taiwan Stock Exchange data showed.

“The TAIEX ended the week on a bright note as it hit a 31-month high on renewed strength, with market volume reaching its highest in over a week at NT$151.21 billion ahead of the sixth round of quasi-official cross-strait talks,” SinoPac Securities Co (永豐金證券) said in a note yesterday.

As healthy corporate earnings attracted global funds to the local bourse, foreign institutional investors bought a net NT$4.71 billion (US$992 million) in local stocks yesterday, while domestic investment trust companies purchased a net NT$200 million in shares and domestic proprietary traders bought a net NT$280 million, according to the stock exchange’s tallies.

The HSBC poll showed that 75 percent of fund managers hold over-weighted positions in Asia-Pacific minus-Japanese equities this quarter, from 44 percent in the third quarter, while 67 percent intend to add stakes in Greater China equities, from 50 percent three months earlier.

“Despite continued market uncertainty and volatility, appetite for equities remains strong yet selective toward regions of higher growth,” said Bruno Lee (李錦榮), regional head of wealth management at HSBC.

Lee expects the focus on the stronger economies of Asia like Greater China and other emerging markets to continue through to the beginning of next year.

The polled fund managers manage an aggregated US$3.89 trillion, accounting for 16.52 percent of the estimated total global funds as of the end September, the survey said, adding funds under management rose 9.75 percent from the second quarter, led by increases in equity funds.

Cathay Financial Holding Co (國泰金控), the nation’s largest financial services provider by assets, shared this largely positive view, citing a monthly survey as saying the local bourse could rally further after domestic investors appeared to be recovering their appetite for risk.

The survey on investor confidence showed 28.9 percent of the respondents willing to channel cash into the stock market, a record high since the launch of the poll in April.

Another 21 percent said they would reduce stock investment, while the remaining 50.1 percent preferred to stay put, according to the survey, which had 6,467 respondents.

A majority of the respondents, 51.2 percent, expected the main index to trend up in the coming six months, while 16.8 percent predict a downward correction, the survey said.

The financial firm linked the upbeat sentiment to the public’s confidence in the economy and the job market.

Nearly 60 percent of respondents said the economic situation had improved from six months earlier, while another 54 percent expected a further pickup in the coming six months, the survey said.

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