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Gold in favour as investor confidence remains positive

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Investor confidence edged up gradually for the second month in a row in June, despite ongoing market and economic uncertainty.

The improvement correlated with positive one-month performance figures for all but three asset classes, according to the latest monthly survey by Lloyds Bank.

Safe-haven gold topped the popularity stakes, despite its recent price volatility, while commodities maintained their upward confidence trajectory.

Sentiment towards US equities swung from negative to modestly positive, which corresponds with the fragile improvement in the US economy.

While sentiment towards UK equities was positive, it was 34 percentage points lower than it was this time last year, representing a significant downward change to what appears to be one of the most trusted investments among survey respondents.

There were just two asset classes for which sentiment fell month-on-month. While UK property remained popular, investor sentiment fell by almost 10 percentage points in the past month and it suffered its biggest year-on-year drop of almost 26 percentage points.

Rather more surprisingly, the other asset class with lower month-on-month sentiment was UK government bonds, which has gone from positive to negative after years of predominantly positive ratings and, it too, has endured its biggest year-on-year fall in confidence of nearly 17 percentage points.

Eurozone equities and, perhaps unexpectedly in the current risk-off climate, cash are generating the most negative sentiment, followed by Japanese equities. Nonetheless, faith in all three asset classes has risen over the last month.

Markus Stadlmann, chief investment officer at Lloyds Private Banking, said: “The change in attitude towards UK property could be telling and is consistent with the broader feeling that there could be reduced potential in house price gains following sustained growth. Likewise there may be the desire to increase liquidity during a period of market turbulence.”

Actual performance of the asset classes over the past month has correlated with the overall sentiment by being relatively positive. However, gold, eurozone equities and emerging market equities did experience month-on-month declines of 5.8%, 1.7% and 1.6% respectively.

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