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Investor confidence in bonds and international equities grows

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Private investor confidence in bonds and non-European equities surged last month, according to research from Lloyds Bank.

The monthly Lloyds Bank Private Banking Investor Sentiment Index found that net sentiment among investors in UK government and corporate bonds increased by five percentage points in March, while US and Japanese shares and gold all increased by four percentage points.

Ashish Misra, head of investment policy at Lloyds Bank, said: “This month’s increase in positive sentiment towards government and corporate bonds asset classes likely reflects the rising levels of investor anxiety around the current situation in Ukraine, as well as the economic risks of increasing signs of a growth slowdown and early signs of an asset quality issue within the banking sector in China.”

Sentiment towards eurozone shares registered a score of -10, an improvement of four percentage points, while sentiment towards UK shares fell for the first time since November 2013.

Emerging market shares saw a decrease of three percentage points this month following a four percentage point rise last month. Lloyds said the dip in sentiment could be due to investor concerns about Ukraine.

Since the Index’s inception last year, investor sentiment has remained overall positive. Only sentiment for gold and emerging market equities have fallen over time. 

Misra added: “The movement in sentiment away from perceived safe haven asset classes like gold and towards asset classes with a potentially higher risk-return profile – while still keeping government bonds in the mix – gives us some insight into the minds of self-directed investors.

“Over the course of the last 12 months, there appears to have been a greater willingness to assume risk in the pursuit of potentially higher returns, while at the same time an acknowledgement of the need to maintain a well-diversified exposure to different, less well-correlated, asset classes as well. It will be interesting to see if future sentiment scores continue to bear out this refinement of investment thinking in retail investors’ minds.”

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