RPT-Global investors look to equities in 2014 - survey

Wed Feb 26, 2014 4:24am EST

* 7 out of 10 investors to invest in equities - Schroders

* Best opportunities seen in Asia, North America

* Taxes, inflation and economic recovery biggest concerns

By Joshua Franklin

LONDON, Feb 26 (Reuters) - Global investors plan to buy more equities in 2014 in the hunt for higher returns, a survey showed on Wednesday, although some fear they could be crimped by increased taxes, rising inflation and a slowdown in the economic recovery.

While Wall Street saw record highs and world equity markets hit six-year peaks in 2013, seven out of 10 investors surveyed by British fund manager Schroders said they still planned to purchase stocks in the coming year, far more than the 18 percent who were looking to bonds.

"The overall feedback was (respondents) would invest more in 2014 on the basis on an improved economical landscape," said Carlo Trabattoni, head of European intermediary distribution.

The group surveyed 15,749 investors in 23 countries who intended to invest at least 10,000 euros ($13,700) or the equivalent over the next 12 months.

It found 41 percent planned to invest in their own country, the rest in international equities or other asset classes. Around two in five respondents saw the best growth opportunities in Asia Pacific. Three in 10 looked to North America.

Of those surveyed, 56 percent said they were more confident than last year about investment opportunities - an improvement from 48 percent in the same survey last year.

The biggest concern raised by 26 percent of respondents was tax increases, with a proposed financial transaction in the European Union potentially placing a charge on share trading.

Around a quarter of global investors also flagged worries over untamed inflation - despite persistently low inflation forecasts in the euro zone - and a prolonged economic recovery, both in their own country and internationally. The International Monetary Fund forecasts global growth of 3.7 percent this year.

The survey also found investor confidence for the year ahead was lowest in the United States. Particular concerns were tax rates and the robustness of the global and domestic economic recoveries.

"You could be up 20 to 30 percent in 2013 (through U.S. investments), which was very strong, so maybe the retail U.S. investor thought, 'That's pretty good, I don't think we'll have back-to-back years like that,'" said Carter Sims, Schroders' U.S. head of intermediary distribution.

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