December 31, 2019 / 12:17 AM / 21 days ago

Global funds maintain defensive holding pattern in December: Reuters poll

A trader works on the floor at the closing bell of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., December 30, 2019. REUTERS/Bryan R Smith

BENGALURU (Reuters) - Global fund managers kept their recommendations largely steady in December, with a preference for equities turned down slightly despite a rally in world stocks, which has set the S&P 500 on course for its best year since 2013, a Reuters poll showed.

Easing trade-war worries on hopes of an U.S.-China trade agreement have lifted global equities this month, putting MSCI’s global equity index .MIWD00000PUS on track for the fourth straight month of gains.

But the Reuters monthly survey of 37 asset managers around the globe, taken Dec. 11-30, showed equity allocations accounted for an average 47.0% of the global portfolio, down from 47.5% in November.

Bond holdings were increased to 42.1% from 41.8%. Cash remained 4.6%.

Asset managers in recent months had increased their preference for stocks to obtain better returns, but with few major updates expected on the U.S.-China trade agreement before the new year, they preferred to stick to a defensive holding pattern in December, as they have for much of this year.

“While we are still awaiting finer details of the initial trade agreement between the world’s top two economies, there remains some lingering doubts about how long the truce will last,” said a global chief investment officer at a large fund.

Additional reporting and polling by Indradip Ghosh and Sujith Pai; editing by Ross Finley, Larry King

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