Macro Managers Expect U.K. to Vote to Remain in EU, Survey Shows

  • Respondents wagering on rising stocks and emerging currencies
  • Some have hedged through long positions on gold or volatility

Money managers kept risk at low levels across major markets ahead of the U.K. referendum on European Union membership, even as 90 percent said they expect voters to back staying in the trading bloc, according to a survey by a macro-economic research firm.

Managers were bullish on stocks, emerging-market currencies and commodities, the survey conducted yesterday and Thursday by Drobny Global Advisors LP shows. Among the 130 respondents, popular bets were on a rising pound and European stock indexes, though some said they expected rallies to end after the vote. Some managers were betting against the yen.

U.K. voters probably chose to remain in the EU in Thursday’s referendum, a YouGov Plc poll for Sky News suggested minutes after polling booths closed. Global investors have been glued to Britain’s debate on its EU membership in recent weeks with polls indicating a close race. The first voting results are expected around 7 p.m. New York time, with the final tally at about 2 a.m. on Friday.

Click here to see a guide on the Brexit referendum results.

Drobny surveyed money managers who focus on macro-economic trends and work at about 100 investment firms. Managers have protected trades by buying gold and securities that would enable them to benefit from wide swings in prices, the company said.

Volatility Positions

Forty percent of respondents said they’re moderately bullish on volatility and 1 percent very bullish. Nineteen percent said they were moderately short, 1 percent were very short and 39 percent had no position. Shorting involves selling borrowed securities in an attempt to buy them back at lower prices.

On developed-market stocks, 44 percent of managers were moderately bullish and 11 percent moderately short. None were very short or very long and 45 percent of respondents had no positions, according to Drobny.

On U.S., Europe and Japanese bond markets, 25 percent of respondents were moderately bullish and the same percentage was moderately short. Three percent were very long, 2 percent very short and 45 percent had no positions.

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