State Street Global Markets today released the results of the State Street Investor Confidence Index for March 2012.

The Global ICI fell 3.9 points from 91.6 to 87.7. Declining sentiment among Asian institutional investors was the driving force, as the ICI for that region decreased 7.5 points from 94.5 to 87.0. Elsewhere sentiment was relatively static, with the North American ICI registering a decline of 0.7 points to settle at 88.8, and the European ICI ticking down by 0.1 point to reach 100.5.

“This is the second consecutive month that Asian investors have exhibited a pessimistic streak that is in contrast to their North American and European peers,” stated Harvard University professor Kenneth Froot, who, along with Paul O’Connell of State Street Associates, developed the index.

“The Asian ICI is now at an all-time low, and reflects particularly concerted selling of equities by Asian domiciled institutions. It would appear that concerns about the impact of slower growth both within and outside Asia are taking their toll and causing investors in that region to increase cash and fixed income holdings.”

O’Connell added that North American and European investors were “somewhat selective” in their approach to equity allocations last month. “Investors cut back on their positions in Latin America, and instead allocated towards Europe and the UK, though even these flows came to a halt in the last week of the data sample, as renewed concern around Spain’s ability to meet its debt burden surfaced.”

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