Don't count on boffo returns from some of the world's most developed markets in 2008, according to a survey of investment professionals in New York, London, Melbourne, and Tokyo by AXA Rosenberg.

The survey of nearly 200 institutional pension fund sponsors, consultants, and other financial professionals with more than US$4 trillion in assets under management was most unenthusiastic about U.S. equities. The poll was conducted by AXA Rosenberg, a subsidiary of AXA Investment Managers that specializes in quantitative active global equity asset management.

Respondents in each region provided views on their own economies and markets. Among their findings was that participants in the U.S., U.K., and Japan expected lower corporate earnings in their own markets over the next 12 months (60%, 55% and 50%, respectively). Australians were more upbeat, with 76% expecting higher corporate earnings there next year.

Respondents from across the board expect the Asia ex-Japan region to register the strongest corporate growth rates, while those in the U.K., Australia and Japan believe the U.S. will have the weakest corporate earnings growth.

Elsewhere, all regions surveyed were very bearish on the U.S. dollar, and the majority in three of the four regions expected higher market volatility in 2008. Japanese respondents indicated they think their equity markets are highly undervalued.

The surveys were conducted at AXA Rosenberg-sponsored conferences in October and November in New York, London, Tokyo and Melbourne.