TORONTO (Reuters) - Canadian financial advisers have become less optimistic over the past few months, especially in their outlook for the stock market, according to a poll released on Wednesday by BetaPro Management Inc.
The survey asked nearly 200 advisers, who oversee around C$20 billion ($20 billion) in client assets, whether they are "bullish, bearish or neutral" in their outlook for the anticipated second quarter returns of 15 distinct asset classes.
Bullish sentiment fell from the first quarter on 14 of the 15 asset classes.
Only silver saw an increase in optimism, up 1 percent.
Positive sentiment for Canadian stocks fell to 58 percent from 70 percent in the last survey.
Almost one in three advisers said they were bearish in their outlook for the S&P/TSX 60 index, which is up from 19 percent.
"Most markets have seen a tremendous run-up since hitting lows in March 2009, but it appears there are a growing number of advisors who are unsure whether the pace of returns are sustainable," Howard Atkinson, president of BetaPro, said in a release.
"Previous adviser sentiment surveys have been fairly accurate -- including accurate forecasts for 11 of 15 asset classes in Q1 2010. These Q2 2010 forecasts seem to suggest increased uncertainty amongst advisers."
On U.S. stocks, 44 percent of advisers were bullish, down from 58 percent, despite a 4.87 percent return in the S&P 500 index in the first quarter of 2010.
Bullish sentiment on emerging market stocks dropped to 56 percent from 64 percent.
In the energy sector, bullish sentiment for crude oil prices fell to 44 percent from 54 percent.
Just over half the advisers said they favor the Canadian dollar over the U.S. dollar, with the Canadian currency now trading around par.
The survey was conducted between March 19 and 31.
BetaPro is a subsidiary of Jovian Capital Corp and manages around C$2.1 billion in 41 exchange traded funds.
Reporting by John McCrank; editing by Rob Wilson