Fund managers cool on Europe, survey shows

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The Independent Online
FUND managers are planning to reduce the holdings of Continental European shares for the first time in 15 months, according to the latest monthly survey carried out by Gallup for Smith New Court, writes Robert Chote.

The survey found a sharp increase in the number of fund managers planning to raise their exposure to Japanese stocks, taking enthusiasm for shares on the Nikkei to its highest in over two years. Fund managers have retained their new-found interest in US stocks.

Only a small majority of fund managers plan to increase their holdings of British shares, with the middle-ranging shares in the FT- SE Mid-250 index coming into favour at the expense of the top 100 blue-chip stocks.

Media, leisure, hotels, building materials and building merchants are the most preferred UK sectors, with banks, proprty and food retailers the least favoured. Banks and property have suffered a dramatic fall from grace, having been among the most preferred sectors as little as three months ago.

Patrick Foley, chief economic adviser of Lloyds bank, predicted that private investors could become heavy investors in shares following the shift in savings flows that saw pounds 7bn invested in unit trusts during the first nine months of 1993, compared with pounds 6.3bn for the whole of 1987, the previous record year.