SINGAPORE -- Nearly half of investors expect the Nikkei Stock Average to finish 2016 around where it is now, a survey released Wednesday shows, highlighting widespread disappointment in the economic policies of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
In all, 46% say the Nikkei average will end the year between 15,001 and 17,500. Only 5% say it will reach the 20,000 mark, a large drop-off from the 85% that had that outlook in the previous year's survey.
Hedge fund industry group Alternative Investment Management Association Japan commissioned Eurekahedge, a Singapore-based research and data services company, to carry out the third annual poll. The survey was conducted between February and May and garnered responses from 88 firms headquartered in Japan, Singapore and other places whose activities include investment in Japanese equities.
Only 16% of the respondents said Abe's signature economic policies, commonly known as Abenomics, have been a success, a large retreat from the 72% who thought so last year. A full 36% say they are not sure when the Japanese economy will get on a growth track. The previous poll revealed that 42% foresaw that happening in 2016.
The survey clearly shows that more people have taken a pessimistic view of Abenomics and its effectiveness, said Eurekahedge Chairman Satoshi Iwanaga.
As was the case last year, returns were the top factor in deciding whether to buy or sell stocks. Corporate governance, the runner-up in 2015, fell to fourth place this year. Waning expectations regarding dividends and similar rewards may be leaving investors less inclined to buy stocks.
On the other hand, the Bank of Japan is widely expected to expand its monetary easing program. A whopping 90% of investors see the central bank adding to its quantitative easing policy, 31 points more than last year. In addition, 79% expect the BOJ to broaden its negative rate policy.