Third successive month of rising sentiment towards corporate profitsThe outlook for corporate performance has improved for the third successive month and more investors are calling for companies to raise capital expenditure. A net 11 percent of investors believe profits will improve in the coming 12 months – a 22-point swing from October when a net 11 percent were forecasting lower profits. Pessimism about corporate margins has lessened for the third successive month. The proportion of investors predicting worsening margins has fallen to a net 27 percent, down from a net 33 percent a month ago and a net 44 percent in October. Similarly, December’s survey shows reduced skepticism over corporates’ ability to deliver double-digit profit growth. A net 37 percent believes global corporate earnings growth will be less than 10 percent, down from a net 52 percent in November. A net 64 percent of the panel believes that companies around the world are under-investing, the highest reading in the history of the survey and an increase from a net 59 percent month-on-month. Investors are less worried about dividends and buybacks – the proportion saying that payouts are too low has fallen to net 28 percent from a net 34 percent. Emerging market corporates have consolidated their position as the panel’s favorite. A net 38 percent of investors say that Global Emerging Market equities have the best outlook for corporate profits in the coming year, up from a net 32 percent in November. Japan sentiment rises at home and globally Global investors’ caution towards Japan has eased, while domestic optimism has strengthened. The proportion of global asset allocators underweight Japanese equities has fallen to a net 20 percent, down from a net 34 percent a month ago. A net 17 percent of the global panel would like to underweight Japanese equities in the coming year, but that’s less than the net 30 percent taking that view in November. A net 90 percent of Japanese investors expect the economy to strengthen in the coming year, compared with a net 18 percent in November, while a net 81 percent is forecasting improved earnings in the coming 12 months.
Liquidity conditions improveInvestors say that liquidity conditions are at their best since May of this year. The proportion of respondents rating liquidity conditions as “positive” rose to a net 23 percent, up from a net 13 percent in November. This marks the third successive month of improving liquidity ratings and follows efforts to support market liquidity by central banks, including recent rounds of quantitative easing by the Fed. Survey of Fund Managers An overall total of 255 panelists with US$664 billion of assets under management participated in the survey from 7 December to 13 December. A total of 193 managers, managing US$503 billion, participated in the global survey. A total of 135 managers, managing US$305 billion, participated in the regional surveys. The survey was conducted by BofA Merrill Lynch Research with the help of market research company TNS. Through its international network in more than 50 countries, TNS provides market information services in over 80 countries to national and multi-national organizations. It is ranked as the fourth-largest market information group in the world. BofA Merrill Lynch Global Research The BofA Merrill Lynch Global Research franchise covers nearly 3,500 stocks and 1,100 credits globally and ranks in the top tier in many external surveys. Most recently, the group was named Top Global Research Firm of 2012 by Institutional Investor magazine; No. 1 in the 2012 Institutional Investor All-Asia survey for the second consecutive year; No. 2 in the 2012 Institutional Investor All-China, All-Europe, All-Japan and All-Latin America surveys; and No. 3 in the 2012 Institutional Investor All-America survey. The group was also named No. 2 in the 2012 Institutional Investor All-America Fixed Income survey and in the 2012 Emerging Markets Equity and Fixed Income survey, covering Emerging Europe, Middle East and Africa. Additionally, BofA Merrill Lynch Global Research was named the No. 1 Global Broker by Financial Times/StarMine, as well as ranked No. 1 in the U.S. and Europe and No. 2 in Asia. The group was also named No. 1 in Asia and No. 2 in the U.S. in the Wall Street Journal Best on the Street 2012 Analysts Surveys. The group was also the winner of the Emerging Markets magazine’s EM Research Global Award for 2010 and 2011.
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