Investors in India, China most bullish in Asia: survey


Wed, Oct 17, 2007 - Page 11

Investors in India and China are the most "bullish" in Asia on expectation the economies will sustain growth, overcoming concerns the subprime mortgage crisis in the US may spread, a survey said.

About 80 percent of investors surveyed in India said the economy will continue to improve in the next three months, while 71 percent of investors surveyed in China expressed a similar optimism, ING Groep NV's Asia Pacific unit said in its first quarterly survey. It was conducted by research firm TNS in July and August, covering 1,308 investors in 13 Asian nations.

"The findings suggest a possible correlation between investors' level of sophistication and confidence in the market," Chris Ryan, regional chief executive officer for ING Investment Management Asia Pacific, said in an e-mailed statement. "While investors in more mature economies such as Australia, Hong Kong, Japan and Singapore are more conservative in their outlook, those in India and China are extremely optimistic, possibly due to their short investing history."

Local stocks are the most popular choice of investment in Asia, with investors in Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore, South Korea, China, Taiwan and Thailand preferring them over other assets, the survey said.

Investors in India, Australia, New Zealand and Indonesia put real estate as their top investment preference, ING said.

As many as 90 percent of the investors surveyed in Hong Kong said they would apply to buy shares in an initial public offer in the next three months, the survey said.

Meanwhile, Indian stocks were raised to "market weight" from "underweight" by Merrill Lynch & Co, which said the nation's economic growth, the fastest in Asia after China, will help compensate for higher valuations.

"India's economic scorecard has changed almost unrecognizably," Mark Matthews and Willie Chan, strategists at Merrill Lynch in Hong Kong, wrote in report dated Oct. 15 that was released today.

"It has a very strong top-down story, like China, and that is what is moving it," they said.

Bombay's Sensitive Index has jumped 22 percent in the past month, the second-best performer among the 89 global benchmarks tracked by Bloomberg after Hang Seng China Enterprises Index.