Russell Finds Money Managers Optimistic About 2008 Market

Money managers have not let the credit concerns or a slowing U.S. economy shake their optimism for the 2008 market, according to Russell Investment’s quarterly survey of investment managers.

The latest Investment Manager Outlook reports 30% of money managers responding to the survey anticipate U.S. equity markets will post returns greater than 10% in 2008, and another 54% said they believe the markets will gain less than 10% or run flat, according to a press release. In total, 76% of responding managers indicated they expect the markets to rise while only 15% predict declines.

The survey found managers still prefer large-cap growth over every other asset class but now predict opportunity in mid-cap and small-cap growth as well, the release said. Seventy-five percent of respondents are bullish on large-cap growth. Sixty-one percent of managers are bullish for the next most popular asset class, non-U.S. (developed market) equities.

Bullishness for mid-cap growth rose seven points from last quarter to 60%, and small-cap growth rose nine points to 47%.

For the second quarter in a row, Russell said manager bullishness for the technology sector reached an all-time high – 78% in the most recent quarterly review. Health care was a close second at 73%, and other energy (50%), consumer staples (44%), and integrated oils (43%) fill out the top five sector choices.

The financial services sector received a pessimistic outlook by managers nearly identical to that of last quarter. Fifty percent of managers surveyed were bearish on financial services, second only to the autos and transportation sector. Manager bullishness on financial services rose slightly from 30% to 32%.

Russell’s current Investment Manager Outlook collected the opinions of 290 senior-level investment decision-makers at U.S. large- and small-cap equity investment managers and U.S. fixed-income investment managers.