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European investor sentiment buoyed by ECB actions, says Fitch

European fixed income investors gave a thumbs-up to the decisive support action by the ECB in October, signalling improving fundamental credit conditions for sovereigns and banks in Fitch Ratings' quarterly investor survey.

Investors expressed cautious optimism on the resolution of the eurozone crisis, with 81 per cent saying that recent policy announcements represent major positive steps, although significant risks remain.

A clear majority of 80 per cent also believe the ambitious plans for a banking union will be realised, although most expect the start date to be delayed.

The increased optimism about the banking sector was also evident in views on refinancing risk, with a much reduced proportion of survey respondents ranking banks as the segment facing the biggest challenge. Overall, investors continued to rank sovereigns the worst affected in this regard.

More than one-third (35 per cent) of investors voted financials their most favoured investment choice, more than doubling the 17 per cent holding that view in the prior survey. This was one of the most decisive endorsements of any sector on the survey record.

The Q412 survey was conducted between 2 October and 6 November and represents the views of managers of an estimated USD7.4trn of fixed income assets. The full report, entitled "European Senior Fixed- Income Investor Survey Q412", covers all major sectors and is available at www.fitchratings.com.

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