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FX news: State Street Index shows crisis of confidence

State Street Investor Confidence Index for February 2011 fell 9.2 points from January’s revised reading of 100.8 to reach 91.6. Declines were evident across all regions.

In Europe, the signs of retrenchment are most evident, with institutional investor confidence declining a massive 13.0 points, from 92.8 to 79.8.

The risk appetite of North American institutional investors fell to 92.5, a 6.8-point decline from the January level of 99.3, while confidence among Asian investors fell 4.3 points from January's revised number of 96.5 to 92.2.

The index differs from survey-based measures in that it is based on the trades, as opposed to opinions, of institutional investors. It doesn’t on the face of it appear to have much trading use.

You might infer from the decline in the index that institutional investors have been reducing inventory. Maybe they have, but this can’t be said to have much effect on equity markets, which generally hit post-2008 peaks in the last couple of weeks. And as for the conclusions that one might draw for the euro based on the meltdown of European institutional investor confidence, ‘close to three-month highs’ would probably not have been one of them.

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