Monday 25th May 2015
NEWS TICKER: FRIDAY, MAY 22ND: The California Public Employees' Retirement System (CalPERS) has named Beliz Chappuie as CalPERS' Chief Auditor, effective July 31, 2015 - Saudi Arabia's oil minister has said the country will switch its energy focus to solar power as the nation envisages an end to fossil fuels, possibly around 2040-2050, Reuters reports. "In Saudi Arabia, we recognise that eventually, one of these days, we are not going to need fossil fuels, I don't know when, in 2040, 2050... we have embarked on a program to develop solar energy," Ali Al-Naimi told a business and climate conference in Paris, the news service reports. "Hopefully, one of these days, instead of exporting fossil fuels, we will be exporting gigawatts, electric ones. Does that sound good?" The minster is also reported to say he still expects the world's energy mix to be dominated by fossil fuels in the near future - Barclays has appointed Steve Rickards as head of offshore funds. He will lead the creation and implementation of the bank’s offshore funds strategy and report directly to Paul Savery, managing director of personal and corporate banking in the Channel Islands. For the last four years Mr Rickards has been heading up the Guernsey Funds team providing debt solutions for private equity and working with locally based fund administrators. Savery says: “Barclays’ funds segment has seen some terrific cross functional success over the past year or so. Specifically, the offshore business has worked hand in hand with the funds team in London to bring the very best of Barclays to our clients, and Steve has been a real catalyst to driving this relationship from a Guernsey perspective.” - Moody's has downgraded Uzbekistan based Qishloq Qurilish Bank's (QQB’s) local-currency deposit rating to B2, and downgraded BCA to b3 and assigned a Counterparty Risk Assessment of B1(cr)/Not prime(cr) to the bank. The agency says the impact on QQB of the publication of Moody's revised bank methodology and QQB's weak asset quality and moderate loss-absorption capacity are the reasons for the downgrades. Concurrently, Moody's has confirmed QQB's long-term B2 foreign-currency deposit rating and assigned stable outlooks to all of the affected long-term ratings. The short-term deposit ratings of Not-prime were unaffected - Delinquencies of the Dutch residential mortgage-backed securities (RMBS) market fell during the three-month period ended March 2015, according to Moody's. The 60+ day delinquencies of Dutch RMBS, including Dutch mortgage loans benefitting from a Nationale Hypotheek Garantie, decreased to 0.85% in March 2015 from 0.92% in December 2014. The 90+ day delinquencies also decreased to 0.66% in March 2015 from 0.71% in December 2014.Nevertheless, cumulative defaults increased to 0.65% of the original balance, plus additions (in the case of master issuers) and replenishments, in March 2015 from 0.56% in December 2014. Cumulative losses increased slightly to 0.13% in March 2015 from 0.11% in December 2014 – Asset manager Jupiter has recruited fund manager Jason Pidcock to build Asian Income strategy at the firm. Pidcock J has built a strong reputation at Newton Investment Management for the management of income-orientated assets in Asian markets and, in particular the £4.4bn Newton Asian Income Fund, which he has managed since its launch in 2005. The fund has delivered a return of 64.0% over the past five years compared with 35.9% for the IA Asia Pacific Ex Japan sector average, placing it 4th in the sector. Since launch it has returned 191.4 against 154.1% for the sector average. Before joining Newton in 2004, Jason was responsible for stock selection and asset allocation in the Asia ex-Japan region for the BP Pension Fund.

BofA Merrill Lynch says Investor market sentiment slowly improving in Europe

Tuesday, 14 August 2012
BofA Merrill Lynch says Investor market sentiment slowly improving in Europe Bank of America Merrill Lynch today presented the results of their August Fund Manager Survey, reporting a global increase in investor confidence buoyed by expectations of ECB policy initiatives. http://www.ftseglobalmarkets.com/

Bank of America Merrill Lynch today presented the results of their August Fund Manager Survey, reporting a global increase in investor confidence buoyed by expectations of ECB policy initiatives.

Fully 80% of the 173 fund managers surveyed by BoAML at the start of the month believed that the ECB would engage in additional quantitative easing by the year end (and ~40% within the next month), compared to fewer than 50% who thought the Federal Reserve would take measures in the USA this year.

European equities strategist at the bank, Manish Kabra, said, “Draghi’s statements have been largely successful in removing investor pessimism and have alleviated some pressure on the Eurozone- global asset allocations are still underweight towards Europe, but we have seen the largest uptick in sentiment since early 2009.”



This sentiment has been expressed by increased asset allocation in the Eurozone, whilst fund managers are moving to reduce previously overweight positions in US equities. Kabra states, “Earnings season hasn’t been great in the US- particularly technologies, but we are seeing sentiment to real estate improving on the back of US stabilisation in the sector.”

Less than 10% of managers are now ruling out any form of QE by the ECB due to the promise of policy stimulus, and overall positions are showing small shifts in favour of equities and commodities over bonds. Cash holdings were slightly reduced but remain at historically high levels of 4.7% portfolio value. It is worth noting that despite the improving sentiment, attitudes to Europe are still net 13% negative overall. The ECB’s rhetoric has calmed nerves, but needs to translate into action or the Eurozone equity rally could be short-lived.

Globally, investor outlook has improved in the past month- fears over the Eurozone have diminished (although are still listed as the premier global tail risk) and growth expectation have risen. However, as the January 1st 2013 expiry date for the Bush tax cuts approaches, the fear of the US “fiscal cliff” as number one global risk have increased by 16%.

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