Deep-pocketed investors believe U.S. stocks will be the best place to put money this year. So far, they've been wrong.
In fact, the domestic market has underperformed most other global indexes, particularly those in Europe and Asia, as the U.S. Federal Reserve gets set to tighten monetary policy while its global counterparts are opening the spigots.
The is up just 1 percent in 2015 while the Dow Jones industrial average has gained 0.4 percent and the tech index is up 1.9 percent, as of Thursday midday trade.
Other indexes around the globe, however, have posted much stronger gains. In Asia, Japan's Nikkei 225 is up 3 percent; Hong Kong's has risen 3.5 percent; and stocks in India are up about 5 percent. European equities, boosted by the European Central Bank's commitment to U.S.-style quantitative easing, are up even more. Germany's DAX has jumped 11.6 percent, Italy's main stock index is up 10.7 percent and the U.K.'s FTSE 100 has climbed nearly 4 percent.
Still, investors responding to a recent survey by Legg Mason say the U.S. is the place to be.
Fully 85 percent of the 458 respondents that Legg Mason called "affluent U.S. investors" believe that the U.S. markets "offer the best opportunities over the next 12 months" compared to other global options. That's up from the 74 percent who predicted—correctly—that the U.S. would be the best market in 2014. In the aggregate, portfolios remain tilted to equities and virtually unchanged over the past few years.