Australian investors are still lacking confidence despite the good economic news of the past week, says Australian Unity Investments chief executive David Bryant.
Mr Bryant said while global economic news was largely positive, new research showed Australian investors were “increasingly pessimistic”.
“Most of the key overseas economies have had good news in the last week but this doesn’t seem to be reaching local investors,” he said in a statement.
“Consumer confidence in Australia is down, with figures released last month showing it was down 2 per cent to ‘mildly negative’ territory.”
Mr Bryant said pointed to China and the US as examples of countries where news was bright.
“For instance, the China Purchasing Index showed increased expansion, up another 2 per cent, with growth in both manufacturing and services,” he said.
“The US services sector also showed healthy expansion and the Eurozone Purchasing Manager’s Index (PMI) was up this week.
As for Australia, Mr Bryant said the forthcoming federal budget and election could be what was bringing uncertainty to investors here. He added that the Australian market was struggling and remained volatile.
“Low commodity prices are spooking investors who continue to wait for a bottom to be reached. And concern about banks’ ongoing strength and profitability, in light [of] a potential increase in bad loans, is weighing on investors’ minds,” Mr Bryant said.
“This is no doubt exacerbated by this week’s news about the continuing issues with culture within the banking environment.”
Mr Bryant said these fears were not unfounded, adding that Australian banks were struggling for profit growth and previous earnings targets of around ten per cent were unlikely to continue.
“Indeed, 5 per cent growth would be a good result in the current environment,” he said.
“The variation between good and bad companies is becoming clearer and while this means that investors must remain vigilant and do their research, it also presents good opportunities for those investors willing to take the time to find the right options.”
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