A year-end survey of advisors by State Street Global Advisors (SSGA) found that for the majority, their top concern was a slowdown in U.S. corporate profits and earnings growth, followed closely by increasing stock market volatility and “rising geopolitical tensions.” A Chinese economic hard landing was cited as the first, second or third top-level concern by less than a quarter of advisors surveyed, with only one in eight listing the Federal Reserve raising interest rates “too early” as a top-three concern.
At the same time, the 814 respondents (54% of whom were affiliated with national broker-dealers or IBDs) said their favorite asset classes were U.S. and international equities and investment grade fixed income. As for sectors, respondents said they were overweight technology, financial and health care stocks and were underweighting utilities, materials and energy stocks in client portfolios.
David Mazza, head of research for SPDR ETFs and SSGA Funds, said in a statement announcing the survey results that investors are “eyeing pockets of growth as the U.S. economic recovery moves from Wall Street to Main Street. Strength in consumer spending and the employment and housing markets combined with the potential for an improved lending market has many tilting their portfolios towards areas of higher earnings and revenue growth.”
“State Street’s monthly Investor Confidence Index released last month found that investors worldwide were slightly more optimistic in December, decreasing from the prior month’s index numbers. by 5.9 points to 106.6,” State Street said in a press release. Ken Froot, a co-developer of the index, said then that “U.S. investors have been showing an appetite for risk for much of 2015, but have been increasingly risk averse into year-end as uncertainty about global growth, weak commodity prices and the beginning of the Fed tightening cycle have eroded confidence to take risk.”
The next State Street Investor Confidence Index is scheduled for release on Tuesday.
— Check out Templeton’s $42 Billion Manager Says Gloom Has Gone Too Far on ThinkAdvisor.