Asia will spearhead the rise in global stock markets from now until the end of the year, according to a worldwide Reuters poll that showed only modest gains ahead for North American and European shares.
Respondents also showed they expected the U.S. Federal to stem its asset purchase program rather than stop it completely, probably in the second half of this year.
The world's top stock indexes have had a fairly mixed year so far. A breakneck rally at the start of the year gave way to angst when the Fed hinted it might start pulling back its quantitative easing asset buying, cash that has inflated share prices globally.
Still, the vast majority of the more than 250 analysts and investors polled this week predicted equities will continue to rise, if only because they are one of the few assets that can still generate a decent rate of return.
The poll's respondents have had a patchy record of late, however, having failed to predict a disastrous 2011. They were also too optimistic about 2012.
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Japan aside, Asian shares have performed among the worst of the poll's 22 indexes covered, and the fact analysts expect them to recover strongly from here as much reflects an element of playing catch-up, as it does confidence in these markets.
Some 94 percent of all the end-2013 forecasts for Asian stock indexes - including Japan, China, South Korea, India, Taiwan and Hong Kong - project an increase compared with Monday's close.
By contrast, the fairly hefty gains in major Western stock markets so far this year are expected to slow markedly.
That would at least better reflect the uncertain economic reality of the world's biggest economies, which are still struggling to generate growth - especially in recession-hit Europe.
Still, equity analysts are undeterred.
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"The underlying story is not really accelerating global growth but more asset reflation, and the fact that equities are by far the most reasonably priced asset class, the only one with positive real prospective returns," said JP Morgan strategist Emmanuel Cau.
The flow of easy central bank cash has pushed up both equity and government bond prices, leaving only negligible, or in some cases even negative, yields on those bonds and making shares more attractive.
Fifty-seven out of 70 analysts who answered an extra question said they expected the U.S. Federal Reserve to start reducing the scale of its money-printing stimulus, with most of them expecting that will happen before the end of the year.
The remainder said they expected the Fed to keep going with its asset purchases, which currently stand at $85 billion per month of newly-created money.
"The biggest headwind for the market will be any rumor of tapering, while clarification from the Fed is one of the biggest potential tailwinds," said Kristina Hooper, head of portfolio strategies at Allianz Global Investors.