TOKYO Japanese fund managers increased their exposure to equities in their model portfolios in April with strong corporate earnings and better prospects for the global economy helping offset geopolitical concerns.
The survey of five Japan-based fund managers conducted between April 17 and 21 showed respondents on average wanted to allocate 39.1 percent of their model portfolios to stocks in April, from 38.7 percent in March.
Global equities were struck earlier in April by geopolitical worries stemming from the Middle East, the Korean Peninsula and French presidential elections but they have recovered strongly.
With robust earnings helping underscore U.S. corporate health, the Nasdaq Composite stock index topped 6,000 for the first time on Tuesday after dropping to as low as 5,805 mid-month.
The pan-European STOXX 600 index climbed to a 20-month high on Tuesday as focus shifted back to fundamentals and away from politics, with the prospects of anti-European Union candidate Marine Le Pen winning the French presidency curbed after the first round of voting on April 23.
Japan's Nikkei rebounded to a one-month high above 19,000 this week following a descent earlier to a five-month trough near 18,200.
"A rise in geopolitical risks could bring another price adjustment phase to equities. But in such a case we expect equities to rebound eventually even if they are exposed to excessive risk aversion as prospects are good this year for corporate earnings and the global economy," said Yuichi Kodama, chief economist at Meiji Yasuda Insurance.
Within stocks, the respondents kept their allocations to North American, euro zone and Japanese equities unchanged from the previous month at 28.0 percent, 8.3 percent and 43.8 percent, respectively.
They raised their overall bond exposure to 55.5 percent in April from 55.1 percent in March.
The fund managers reduced their North American bond holdings to 31.9 percent from 35.1 percent while increasing euro zone debt exposure to 20.5 percent from 16.8 percent.
Yields of both U.S. Treasuries and German bunds experienced sharp declines to multi-month lows earlier in April on flight-to-safety. But bund yields have bounced back faster from those troughs, with its 10-year yield having climbed back to a one-month high on Tuesday.
The respondents trimmed their Japanese bond exposure to 37.3 percent in April from 38.4 percent in March.
(Reporting by Shinichi Saoshiro; Editing by Sam Holmes)