GLOBAL - Fund managers are forecasting modest equity returns over the coming 12 months - their most optimistic annual prediction for two years.
JPMorgan Fleming Asset Management said European and Japanese equity markets remained the two most undervalued developed markets, predicting returns of up to 15%.
Legal & General Investment Management financial economist Andrew Clare agreed and said: “After a couple of years in the doldrums, Europe and Japan are showing signs of recovery.
“As always, confidence is the key, but as the economic picture improves hopefully 2004 will be less of a rollercoaster than recent years.”
LGIM predicted the FTSE100 would end the year at 4700 – 190 points up on the 2003 close of business figure.
Deutsche Asset Management global chief economist Steven Bell said the last six months had been a “sweet spot of economic recovery”.
He said: “Growth has consistently beaten expectations in the US and Asia. More recently, Europe has joined the party. With inflation and interest rates still very low, most of the gains have fed straight through to profits.
“Things still look good for 2004 but investors around the world start the year in an optimistic mood and companies will have to work hard to beat those expectations.”
But JPMorgan global strategist Gary Dugan said the outlook was less optimistic for the North American equity market.
The secretary of state for work and pensions has told MPs clawback and avoidance measures could be imposed for the people responsible for driving Carillion over the cliff.
Occupational pension provision has continued to grow in value, but there remains large variance in incomes across the pensioner age group, according to latest government data.
Defined benefit (DB) schemes could have an aggregate surplus by 2021 under Pension Protection Fund (PPF) projections, its strategic plan for 2018 to 2021 reveals.
Investment consultants are failing to recommend products that outperform net of fees, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has said as its investigation into the market continues.