Interest rate rises, problems in China and the Middle East, political uncertainty in the US, Brexit, debt levels, and frothy property and private equity markets were among the reasons cited for pessimism among 938 respondents.
Overall, confidence was down to levels last seen in 2013 – a year in which the UK economy grew 1.9%.
While we’re on the subject of surveys, NN Investment Partners’ latest Rotation Index found equities ranked as the most attractive asset class by over half of institutional investors (54%) as at the last quarter of 2015.
Healthcare was ranked the most favoured sector (53%), followed by technology (47%) and then consumer staples (39%).
Consumer stocks are a timely topic of discussion given trading updates this month released by the likes of Tesco, M&S and Next.
“We’ve gone back to an era of low interest rates and low growth, and if you are growing your dividends and earnings at 20% per annum plus then you will be highly rated”
With many of our big retail names underperforming expectations, there’s an argument to suggest that the industry is right to be pessimistic about our domestic prospects.
Still, if anything stockpickers say are still seeing select opportunities in this space – and that’s not necessarily just restricted to the value-focused managers either.