Allocation to herd: 100 percent

January 31, 2013

They’re bleating and buying. And you had better not let them run you over.

The latest Reuters surveys of global asset managers confirm what we’ve all been watching over the past month: a mad rush out of safe havens and into stock markets. There seems to be little else to report out of financial markets.

That stampede, particularly into U.S. shares by U.S. money managers, clocked the single biggest rise in equity allocations since at least 2007, before the financial crisis began, according to the latest Reuters poll data. The rush into global stocks by investment firms all over the world was the biggest in at least three years.

Other reports are saying the same thing.

What is more puzzling, other than a desperate need for change, is why.

It’s clear that most people any way connected to debates in financial markets are tired of all the doom and gloom and don’t mind taking a more positive view. But is that enough?

The euro zone crisis has not just ebbed. It seems to have gone practically dormant. (Never mind that more than half of young Spaniards haven’t got a job. Or that we ought to be wary of calling an end to things that once seemed like they would never stop.)

The U.S. property market is showing some signs of life, with widespread price rises. (Never mind that the economy shrank in the final months of 2012 for the first time since it escaped from recession in 2009. Or that political gridlock is clearly damaging business and job prospects).

The latest global outlook is certainly a bit more optimistic than the same time last year.

But for now, the only thing that seems to really matter for investment managers is to have more stocks in their portfolio.

 – With additional reporting by Rahul Karunakar.

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