Fund managers see 5% to 10% upside in Asian stocks: BofA survey

Investing.com-- A BofA survey showed investors expected steady, albeit limited returns from Asian equities outside Japan in the next 12 months, amid growing hopes over a Chinese economic turnaround and stronger earnings.

The survey, which was conducted in early-May, showed a majority of the surveyed fund managers expect returns between 5% and 10% from Asian equities excluding Japan, over the next 12 months. 

41% of respondents in the survey also expect the Chinese economy to strengthen over the next 12 months, up drastically from 10% seen in February, BofA said in a note. 

The shifting expectations come as Chinese equities staged a stellar recovery from multi-year lows hit in February. Beijing was also seen rolling out a slew of supportive measures for local stocks and the property market, which has been a key point of contention for the economy. 

Fund managers also expect broader equities to rise chiefly on strong earnings over the next 12 months.

BofA said fund managers remained “overwhelmingly positive” on semiconductor stocks, along with the broader technology and industrials sector. They were averse to utilities and real estate. 

Among regional markets, Taiwan and India were the top picks, although fund managers appeared to be cooling towards India since March. 

Fund managers remained largely averse towards Thailand, as a rout in local markets, fueled by political ructions, attracted little bargain or contrarian buying. 

Japan remains a top choice among fund managers 

But in broader Asia, Japan remained the top market of choice for fund managers, the BofA survey showed.

This trend persisted even as Japanese stocks lagged regional equities through April.

But even as Japanese markets hit record highs in the first quarter, BofA said that a bulk of fund managers did not yet see a top for local stocks. 

A weak yen factored into this outlook, especially as the currency languished around 34-year lows despite instances of perceived government intervention.

The Bank of Japan’s policies are also expected to largely shape the course of Japanese equities, especially the central bank’s plans to tighten monetary policy further.

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