Although we’re in a bit of a correction right now, I remain basically bullish on stocks. I tend to favor the ones outside the US but even in the US, I think there are good reasons to remain bullish for now. Earnings are surprisingly good; productivity is rising as companies lay off workers and expand margins. And I think the economy will continue to surprise on the upside, at least over the next few quarters.

Another reason to remain bullish is that most people aren’t:

Oct. 29 (Bloomberg) — An eight-month, 68 percent rally in global stocks failed to convince investors and analysts that it’s time to take on more risk or dispel their concerns about U.S. economic policies and its banking system.

Only 31 percent of respondents to a poll of investors and analysts who are Bloomberg subscribers in the U.S., Europe and Asia see investment opportunities, down from 35 percent in the previous survey in July. Almost 40 percent in the latest quarterly survey, the Bloomberg Global Poll, say they are still hunkering down. U.S. investors are even more cautious, with more than 50 percent saying they are in a defensive crouch.

The pessimists are primarily US based:

Respondents see China, Brazil and India as the markets with the most potential, and commodities as the asset of choice, replacing stocks as the most desirable investment class in last quarter’s survey. Real estate and bonds are out of favor, with 40 percent saying bonds will have the worst returns over the next year.

“Asia is the best place to put money as there are not mountains of consumer debt, bad mortgage lending, trade deficits or high unemployment,” says Peter J. Emblin, a fund executive at Thai Strategic Capital Management Co. in Bangkok who took part in the poll.

Investors and analysts in Asia are the most bullish, while those in the U.S. are the most cautious. A majority of Asian investors expect their country’s benchmark stock index to rise while a plurality of U.S. and European respondents thought their benchmarks would fall in the next six months.

That does worry me a bit since I find myself in the crowd in liking emerging markets and commodities. On the other hand it may be somewhat of a self fulfilling prophecy. The crowd can be right for a long time.

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