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Worst of downturn over: AMP

AMP Capital is shifting “from a very defensive to a less defensive stance” for the coming year.

Wednesday, January 28th 2009, 5:24AM

by Rob Hosking

New head of investments Jason Wong says although 2009 is not likely to be a good year for the world economy the worst of the downturn is probably over.

“The good news for investors is the downturn is priced in already,” he says.

“Although its still a bear market equities can still see some big 20% or 30% rallies – we saw one from November. Those gains have been wiped out over the past couple of weeks but it shows it is a good dealers’ market right now.”

AMP remains underweight in New Zealand equities and the New Zealand dollar and “underweight in global equities, but not as underweight as we have been,” says Wong.

The drop in international interest rates means a slight sift back towards equities is now more attractive, he says.

“If you’re only getting 4% on fixed interest a 7% on equities is a great return.” For the year AMP saw its growth fund make a 24.5 negative return before fees and tax while the balanced fund made a negative return of 10.5%. Cash made a 9.2% return and the conservative fund 6.2%.

But the big gains from cash and fixed interest have been made, he says. “Investors should sit tight in their balanced funds.”

Rob Hosking is a Wellington-based freelance writer specialising in political, economic and IT related issues.

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