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Global Investor Confidence Mixed After ‘Interesting’ February: State Street

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Global investors have become slightly more pessimistic about the markets in February, though American investors are a tad more confident than they were last month, according to the State Street Investor Confidence Index (ICI) for February.

The Global Investor Confidence Index, from State Street Global Exchange, dropped to 106.5, down 2.2 points from January’s revised reading of 108.7. Driving this decline in sentiment was a sharp fall in Europe, where the index dropped to 90.2 from 103.4. In contrast, the Asian ICI rose by 9.2 points to 111.9, and the North American ICI improved from 108.9 to 109.3.

“February was an interesting month that saw swings in investor sentiment fueled by high volatility in oil prices as well as dovish signs from central banks in Europe and Japan,” said Kenneth Froot of State Street Associates, a co-developer of the ICI, which tracks institutional investors worldwide.

“Moving forward, all eyes will be focused on the European Central Bank and the Federal Reserve’s March meetings as the global growth outlook remains a key concern for investors,” Froot explained in a statement.

In January, the Global ICI fell to 108.8, down 1.7 points from December’s revised reading of 110.5. The North American ICI weakened to 108.8 from 110.5, while the Asian ICI fell 1.5 points to 102.9; the European ICI declined just 0.1 points to 103.4 last month.

The Investor Confidence Index, created by Paul O’Connell and Froot, measures investor confidence or risk appetite by analyzing the buying and selling patterns of institutional investors. A reading of 100 is neutral and is the level at which investors are neither increasing nor decreasing their long-term allocations to risky assets.

“The narrative surrounding risk aversion seen so far in 2016 has focused on the weakness of global growth, the risks in China and the knock-on impact of lower energy prices. However, the regional breakdown of our investor confidence index this month reveals a rather different set of concerns, with confidence rising in Asia but collapsing in Europe,” said Michael Metcalfe, senior managing director and head of global macro strategy for State Street Global Markets, in a statement.

He added: “The 13-point fall in the confidence of European investors was the sharpest in 16 months. With banking and government credit spreads under pressure once again, this decline in European confidence highlights the pressing need for additional policy measures in the region.”

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