The economic news might not inspire bull market thoughts, but a new survey from Russell Investments found 57% of professional money managers believe the market is undervalued. That's the biggest percentage since March 2009, and the second-highest since Russell started doing its Investment Manager Outlook survey.
The latest version collected input from nearly 170 U.S. large- and small-cap equity investment managers, along with U.S. fixed-income investment managers.
Almost half (49%) expect the biggest growth driver to be capital spending on equipment and construction. Another 18% chose government spending as the main driver, and 15% picked personal consumption.
Just 9% said they expect the economy won't grow during the next 12 months, and only 7% said the markets are overvalued.
"With more conviction than at any point since the depths of the global credit crisis, the managers now believe the market to be undervalued but are far from expecting the same kind of surge that followed the market bottom of March 2009," said Mark Eibel, director or client investment strategies at Russell Investments. "Even still, optimism within a framework of diminished expectations is still optimism, and the most positive managers may be holding out hope that a tidal change is beginning to gather momentum, one built on strong corporate earnings and a recovering economy."
In the latest survey, technology maintained its long-held place as the most preferred sector at 69% bullishness, followed by energy and the materials and processing sectors (51% and 48%, respectively).
Money managers also are bullish on emerging market equities--71% bullish versus 12% bearish. The latter is an all-time low for the survey.