Global investors look to equities in 2014 - survey

Reuters - UK Focus

* 7 out of 10 investors to invest in equities - Schroders (LSE: SDR.L - news)

* Best opportunities seen in Asia, North America

* Taxes, inflation and economic recovery biggest concerns

By Joshua Franklin

LONDON, Feb 26 (Reuters) - Global investors plan to buy moreequities in 2014 in the hunt for higher returns, a survey showedon Wednesday, although some fear they could be crimped byincreased taxes, rising inflation and a slowdown in the economicrecovery.

While Wall Street saw record highs and world equity marketshit six-year peaks in 2013, seven out of 10 investors surveyedby British fund manager Schroders said they stillplanned to purchase stocks in the coming year, far more than the18 percent who were looking to bonds.

"The overall feedback was (respondents) would invest more in2014 on the basis on an improved economical landscape," saidCarlo Trabattoni, head of European intermediary distribution.

The group surveyed 15,749 investors in 23 countries whointended to invest at least 10,000 euros ($13,700) or theequivalent over the next 12 months.

It found 41 percent planned to invest in their own country,the rest in international equities or other asset classes.Around two in five respondents saw the best growth opportunitiesin Asia Pacific. Three in 10 looked to North America.

Of those surveyed, 56 percent said they were more confidentthan last year about investment opportunities - an improvementfrom 48 percent in the same survey last year.

The biggest concern raised by 26 percent of respondents wastax increases, with a proposed financial transaction in theEuropean Union potentially placing a charge on share trading.

Around a quarter of global investors also flagged worriesover untamed inflation - despite persistently low inflationforecasts in the euro zone - and a prolonged economic recovery,both in their own country and internationally. The InternationalMonetary Fund forecasts global growth of 3.7 percent this year.

The survey also found investor confidence for the year aheadwas lowest in the United States. Particular concerns were taxrates and the robustness of the global and domestic economicrecoveries.

"You could be up 20 to 30 percent in 2013 (through U.S.investments), which was very strong, so maybe the retail U.S.investor thought, 'That's pretty good, I don't think we'll haveback-to-back years like that,'" said Carter Sims, Schroders'U.S. head of intermediary distribution.

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