CFA survey shows rising economic, stock market optimism

Forty percent of respondents to the CFA Institute's annual global market sentiment survey expect the global economy to expand next year, up from 34% a year ago.

Also, 50% of respondents expect equities to outperform all asset classes, up from 41%.

“By a very wide margin, they feel the place to be is in stocks, more specifically, U.S., China and Brazil,” said Kurt Schacht, managing director, standards and financial market integrity division, in a telephone interview.

Despite the rise in optimism, 98% of respondents reported what Mr. Schacht called “a serious lack of trust” in the financial industry. “The most important factor (56%) in the lack of trust was the lack of an ethical culture — the tone at the top. These are highly credentialed people saying it's the fact that these firms just are not paying attention.”

Survey respondents see a status quo for employment next year, with 49% expecting job opportunities to stay the same. “The good news is that it's not bad news — I think that's the watchword for 2013,” Mr. Schacht said.

The CFA Institute received responses from 6,783 chartered financial analysts, of whom 20% are portfolio managers and 13% are research analysts.