The good news: Money managers are not predicting disastrous market declines for 2008. The not-as-good news: They're less enthusiastic than they were one year ago, according to results from the latest Investment Manager Outlook by Russell Investments.
Roughly three-quarters of the 290 money managers who responded to the survey anticipate U.S. equity markets will stay level or increase this year, but only 30% think the rise will top 10%. That compares to 86% who thought markets would rise or stay level at the beginning of 2007. On the negative side, 15% of managers see markets falling in 2008 versus 12% who felt the same last year.
Managers are most bullish on technology and health care stocks, and remain bearish on the financial services industry. Emerging market equities did not score as high this year, with 49% of managers predicting increases compared to 54% last year.
"Attractive valuation levels and the potential of the global economy are pointing managers towards stocks in 2008," says Randy Lert, chief portfolio strategist at Russell Investments. "The managers are favoring growth over value. Value stocks are more sensitive to the economy and managers appear to be positioning themselves so they are not overexposed to value should the economy drag."