Last updated: 09:24 / Thursday, 23 October 2014
MarketExpress ING IM

Markets are Considerably Driven by Herd Behavior

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Markets are Considerably Driven by Herd Behavior

In its last MarketExpress report, ING IM shares its view about the recent setback in the markets: “the reasons for the recent sharp decline in risky assets must primarily be sought in investors’ herd behavior. We admit that some fundamentals - especially in the Eurozone - have weakened, but data suggest that global growth momentum remains intact.”

The asset management firm recons it is not always easy to make sense of the financial market jitters that have plagued us over the past few weeks. When looking for an explanation, it is clear that market technicals should be high on the list. “In this respect we note that the very low interest rates have pushed new types of investors towards risky assets; investors who lack experience with equity investments. As a consequence their behavior is resembling tourists in equity markets who have difficulties to stick to their positions in uncertain times. Instead, they seem more inclined to herd behavior.”

In the meantime, data suggest that global growth momentum remains intact. “Therefore, we stick to our overweight positions in equities (small) and real estate (medium). Having said this, we admit that questions about the underlying fundamentals have also played a role in the market unrest”.

A concern is that markets may disconnect with the real economy

Amidst all uncertainties to ING IM one thing is absolutely clear: There are many moving parts in fundamental space and investors have difficulties to get grip on these parts. This situation is pretty conducive to eliciting bouts of market volatility. Loose global monetary policy has been acting as a very important “dampener” of market volatility. However, in periods in which this dampener is somewhat less effective in calming markets, one invariably starts to hear increased worries that markets may be getting way ahead of the real underlying economic situation.

ING IM thinks there is no widespread overvaluation in risky assets

The firm is clearly not in the camp that believes in widespread overvaluation in risky assets. They give two arguments for their continuous positive view on equities (small overweight) and real estate (medium overweight).

1. Global growth momentum remains intact

Data suggest that global growth momentum remains intact. The Global PMI continues to hover in a range consistent with moderately above potential global growth. Momentum in global retail sales has picked up over the past few months and will receive a further boost from the sharp fall in commodity prices.

2. Global Economy has support from dollar, oil price and yields

Lower oil prices are favourable for disposable incomes of households. Besides, companies will benefit, due to lower input costs. Lower US bond yields imply breathing space for emerging markets. Finally, the stronger dollar is favorable for economic and earnings growth in Europe, Japan and the emerging world.

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