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POLL-Japan fund managers cut stock exposure in July, increase bonds
July 29, 2016 / 3:31 AM / a year ago

POLL-Japan fund managers cut stock exposure in July, increase bonds

* For poll data click reuters://realtime/verb=Open/url=cpurl://apps.cp./Apps/asset-allocation-polls

TOKYO, July 29 (Reuters) - Japanese fund managers reduced exposure to stocks and increased bond holdings in their model portfolios in July following the global market turbulence after the Brexit referendum in late June, a Reuters survey showed.

The survey of five Japan-based fund managers conducted between July 14 and July 22 showed respondents on average wanted to allocate 36.6 percent of their portfolios to equities, down from 41.9 percent in June.

While the fund managers reduced their overall equity exposure, they increased allocations to markets that recovered rapidly from the Brexit shock.

One of them was the British market, where the FTSE soared to 11-month highs in July after briefly tumbling to a four-month trough soon after the June 24 referendum.

Poll respondents increased their exposure to UK stocks in July to 7.0 percent from 5.5 percent in June. They trimmed their holdings of Japanese equities to 48.1 percent from 49 percent and cut their exposure to North American stocks to 24.3 percent from 26.7 percent.

The fund managers increased their overall bond holdings in July to 54.1 percent from 49.7 percent in June. A large part of the increase was in Japanese bonds, which the respondents raised to 47.7 percent of their holdings from 42.9 percent.

Japanese government bond yields pulled away from record lows in July, allowing investors to bargain hunt.

On the other hand, the respondents reduced their euro zone bond exposure to 16.9 percent from 19.1 percent and also cut holdings of North American debt to 27.1 percent from 29.9 percent.

Some saw historically low government bond yields - with significant parts of the yield curve in countries such as Germany, France, the Netherlands and Japan negative - prompting investors to look elsewhere for higher returns.

"A significant number of sovereign bonds now yield below zero after Brexit. We expect investors to look for income in government bonds from emerging economies, corporate debt and high-dividend equities," said a fund manager at a Japanese asset management firm.

The respondents nudged up their exposure to property in July to 3.7 percent from 3.1 percent in June and increased holdings in alternative investments to 2 percent from 1.7 percent. (Reporting by Shinichi Saoshiro; Editing by Eric Meijer)

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