According to the AIC poll, 28 per cent of the managers surveyed think the US will produce the best stock market returns in 2009.
Sixty two per cent of respondents are optimistic that markets will rise next year but there are differing views on where the FTSE 100 is likely to end up. Fifty four expect the index to close between 4500 to 5500, but 23 per cent are less optimistic and expect the index to close below 4000.
Blue chips are also being touted as the sector most likely to outperform for the third consecutive year by 30 per cent of the fund managers.
Fifty four per cent believe the global recession to be the greatest threat to equities, while 44 per cent cited “attractive valuations” as the greatest cause for optimism.
Forty six per cent of those polled plan to increase their gearing levels in the next six months.
AIC communications director Annabel Brodie-Smith says: “After such a tough year for equities, fund managers are clearly divided over the prospects for 2009 with the majority expecting to see equities rising next year, but still over a third think equities will stagnate or fall in 2009.
“In the very volatile markets which we’ve seen recently, regular investing can be a sensible tool as it helps smooth out some of those highs and lows in the price of shares.”