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Investor confidence index rises to 108.0 in March

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Investor confidence rose 5.4 points to 108.0 in March from February’s revised reading of 102.6, the State Street Investor Confidence Index shows.

The driving force this month was provided by Asian institutional investors, whose confidence rose 4.1 points from February’s revised reading of 96.7 to 100.8.

Elsewhere the changes were more muted. North American investor confidence ticked up slightly to 110.4 from a revised February number of 110.1. In Europe, confidence remained somewhat on the back foot, declining to 97.3 from February’s reading of 99.8.

Developed through State Street Global Markets’ research partnership, State Street Associates, by Harvard University professor Ken Froot and State Street Associates Paul O’Connell, the State Street Investor Confidence Index measures investor confidence on a quantitative basis by analysing the actual buying and selling patterns of institutional investors.

“This month saw a solid increase in investor confidence, with Asian institutional investors leading the way,” says Froot. “As we anticipated, the increase in the discount rate by the US Federal Reserve in February seems to have been largely priced-in by institutions. Now that concerns about the European periphery have been assuaged somewhat, investors are focused on the continuing improvement in the macroeconomic outlook, and what it implies for equity valuations.”

"Interestingly, we are starting to see a renewed divergence between investor confidence and consumer confidence in the US with consumers becoming less confident while investors are becoming more confident,” adds O’Connell. “It remains to be seen whether consumers will look up this month, but in the meantime, institutional investors worldwide have been consistent buyers in many markets and sectors, with the exception of the European periphery and some specific sectors such as healthcare.”

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