Although 85% of Canadian investors are optimistic about reaching their financial goals, almost half (45%) are concerned about the state of the global economy and more than one-third (37%) are worried about falling oil prices, according to a survey by Toronto-based Franklin Templeton Investments Corp.
“Investors have experienced a tough few quarters in the equity markets, especially in Canada where energy represents about a quarter of the market,” says Ronice Barlow, senior vice president with Franklin Templeton.
But while expectations for Canadian stock market returns have decreased by 12% since 2014, 53% of Canadian investors still expect positive returns this year, the results of Franklin Templeton’s annual Global Investor Sentiment survey suggest.
In fact, the survey found a significant jump in Canadian investors who believe the U.S. equity market will offer the best returns, with 47% who say they believe this to be the case this year while 24% said the same in 2014.
However, Stephen Lingard, senior vice president and portfolio manager with Franklin Templeton Solutions, cautions against focusing heavily on the U.S. market, saying that it’s a “dangerous game” to chase one of last year’s top-performing asset classes.
“Our portfolio team is focusing on valuations and corporate earnings growth outside of North America, specifically abroad in Europe and Asia as these markets are looking favourable,” he says.
The percentage of Canadian investors who have a home country equity bias is decreasing, with 24% believing Canada’s stock market has the best equities opportunities while 35% felt this way in 2014.
Canadian investors also believe that stocks, real estate and precious metals will be the top-performing asset classes in 2015 and over the next 10 years. The percentage of respondents who felt non-metal commodities will perform best this year decreased was only 8% vs 13% in 2014.
“The recent volatility in energy [stocks] and the Canadian dollar is causing investors to evaluate their portfolio holdings,” Lingard says. “Investors would do well not to panic about short-term volatility and rather focus on longer-term asset-allocation strategies to help deliver strong investment outcomes and risk-adjusted returns.”
The Franklin Templeton survey also asked Canadian investors about their top three investment goals. Retirement was the most popular answer with 70% of respondents while planning for vacation, at 52%, and planning for emergencies, at 40%, were the second and third most popular choices.
As for Canadian investors between the ages of 25 and 34, they’re more likely than those who are 45 years old or older to rank purchasing a new home or investing in or starting a business among their top three goals.
The survey was conducted by ORC International and includes responses from 11,508 individuals in 23 countries. Respondents were required to own investable assets and possess a minimum investible asset threshold. Canadian respondents were 25 years old or older. The survey was conducted from Feb. 12 to March 2.