The State Street Investor Confidence Index finally picked up steam in May, rising 5.1 points to 102.5 after languishing in risk-averse territory below 100 as global institutional investors decreased equity allocation in the previous 10 months. The increase was driven by the North American component, which rose from 95.1 to 104.1, while the European component rose only marginally, up 0.7 points to 96.9, and Asia slowed gains by falling 3.5 points to 101.1. The index for April was revised downward by 2.1 points to 97.4.
State Street said global institutional investors were increasing their equity allocations after reducing them in each of the previous 10 months, with risk appetite growing especially in North America, bolstered by the anticipation of a very gradual course in the hikes by the Federal Reserve and by expectations of increased infrastructure spending and tax cuts. Institutional investor confidence in Europe is below the 100 neutral mark, however, as investors take pause to reflect on elevated valuations after strong stock market gains in the region. Asia remains in a risk-on environment despite the decline in May, reflecting superior earnings growth in the region and the falling risk premium in China.