Investors Turn Positive on Markets

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Are investors ready to put the difficulties of 2020 behind them? New data from Dianomi suggests that even before November’s market gains, investors’ appetite for news and analysis on leading asset classes was increasing at pace – and that investors were seeking out positive coverage.

Global stock markets rose sharply during the first half of November, as leading pharmaceutical companies announced positive news on potential vaccines for the Covid-19 virus. The gains reflect investors’ hopes that it may finally be possible to begin moving past the pandemic.

However, investors’ optimistic view of equity markets – and of other asset classes – appears to pre-date the vaccine announcements. Dianomi’s analysis of online financial coverage reveals that in October, investors consumed 17.2% more articles about equity markets than in September; even more impressively, consumption of fixed-income coverage was up by 22.9% in October.

Moreover, investors have in recent months been overwhelmingly opting to read neutral or positive coverage of these asset classes. By contrast, only a small proportion of articles consumed, both in fixed-income and in equities, could be characterised as negative, Dianomi’s analysis reveals. This represents a stark reversal since the summer, when the majority of coverage of these asset classes consumed by investors expressed negative sentiment.

In other words, Dianomi’s research suggests that not only are investors seeking out more coverage of leading asset classes, but also that in most cases they are looking for analysis where sentiment is positive, or at least neutral. Negative takes on fixed-income assets and stock markets have accounted for only a very small proportion of the content consumed in recent months.

The data reinforces the idea that investors are beginning to look through market volatility in search of opportunities – and that many investors are determined to capitalise on the potential upside for asset prices. In November, stockbroking platforms in the UK struggled to cope with the volumes of orders posted by investors as prices rose following the vaccine announcement.

November’s Presidential Election in the US may also be part of the picture, with political uncertainty in the world’s largest economy having worried investors for much of 2020. An end to that uncertainty – albeit with the potential for unlikely surprises with President Trump contesting the election outcome – may have boosted investors’ confidence.

Dianomi’s data certainly suggests investors have been shifting to a more upbeat view of the outlook for stocks and bonds. The aggregate sentiment of the stock market coverage consumed by investors was negative throughout July and August, Dianomi’s analysis shows, before turning positive in September, where it has since remained. In the fixed-income arena, aggregate sentiment remained positive over the summer – though only just – but moved sharply higher over the autumn months.

Investors’ consumption patterns when it comes to coverage of real estate and commodities also suggest a shift in sentiment. Overall consumption of content on these asset classes fell sharply during October, Dianomi’s data shows, but in both cases, investors have been seeking out more upbeat coverage. The proportion of articles that express negative sentiments has fallen sharply since the summer in the case of both real estate and commodities.

A move to a more positive outlook across asset classes may presage further gains to come on global markets with investors determined to capitalise on good news. For example, further positive announcements on Covid-19 vaccines and treatments – and a final determination of the Presidential race – offer potential for new market upside given the current sentiment of investors.

Investors appear minded to see the case for the upside. Indeed, October’s most-read article in Dianomi’s analysis underlines the point. MarketWatch’s story, headlined “Most investors now expect the US stock market to crash – why that’s good news”, is a classic example of looking for the positive takes during a potentially worrying time.