Wouldn’t it be sad if you threw a federal election and no-one cared? Well most of the country’s big money falls into that category.

Some 80% of Australian investment managers – the folks who look after our trillion dollars of investment savings – reckon next year’s federal election will have no bearing on the stock market. John Howard needs to start cranking up his scare campaign.

That’s one of findings of the Russell Investment Group’s December quarter investment managers survey out this morning and available on free subscription here.

Those same investment managers think less of Australia overall, though – maybe the local election matters less when you’re sending more funds offshore.

Presumably the survey was taken before the ASX took off into record territory last week, so the feeling that foreign markets offer better returns has probably intensified. Nearly two-thirds of funds managers were bullish about international equities, up six points on the September quarter, while only 28% were bullish about Australian equities. After three years of 20%-plus performance, they must be getting nervous.

The survey found 37% believe the Australian stock market is overvalued (28% three months ago), about 60% thought it fairly valued (unchanged) and only 2% think it undervalued. Maybe the last lot make up the private equity funds.

The managers were also generally bearish about listed property trusts – but they have been for a couple of years while the LPTs have jumped 40% – and they don’t like Aussie bonds much either.

What’s wrong with these people? Don’t they believe in Santa Claus? Or Allco Equity Partners?

Peter Fray

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