Singapore investors less gung ho on stock market

A man walks past a stock market board. Retail investors have dialed down their expectations for the local stock market, after last year's flat performance and as the United States reduces its massive money-printing programme. -- ST FILE PHOTO: B
A man walks past a stock market board. Retail investors have dialed down their expectations for the local stock market, after last year's flat performance and as the United States reduces its massive money-printing programme. -- ST FILE PHOTO: BRYAN VAN DER BEEK

RETAIL investors have dialed down their expectations for the local stock market, after last year's flat performance and as the United States reduces its massive money-printing programme.

About 55 per cent expected the benchmark Straits Times Index (STI) to rise over the next six months, said a JP Morgan Asset Management study conducted in November and December.

While the proportion was still more than half, it was a fall from the 62 per cent of investors who were upbeat about the index when the survey was previously conducted last June.

The market's recent performance could be a reason. The STI was all set to end last year in negative territory, and finished flat only after heroic increases in December.

Still the STI closed out 2013 about 10 per cent lower than its height in May.

Along the way, the US Federal Reserve started to reduce its bond-buying scheme, which has been credited for fueling much of the gains in worldwide markets since the 2008 financial crisis.

The JP Morgan study also showed that 48 per cent of investors expected their investment portfolio to appreciate in the coming half-year, down from 52 per cent in the June study.

However, 51 per cent of investors - up from 46 per cent in June - indicated a greater willingness to increase the overall size of their investments in the coming six months. Expectations of the Singapore and global economies also improved.

The study polled 501 investors, aged between 25-60 years old, with an annual income of at least $60,000 and at least five years of active investment experience.

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