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European funds cut Asia, US stocks in favour of home - Reuters poll

By Natsuko Waki

LONDON (Reuters) - European fund managers pulled money from emerging Asian and U.S. stocks in September and boosted equity holdings at home where growth momentum is accelerating, a Reuters survey showed on Monday.

The monthly asset allocation poll of 20 asset managers in Europe, excluding Britain, also showed investors increased overall equity allocation in their global balanced portfolios for a third month in a row to 47.5 percent on average.

Global equity markets rallied briefly in late September after the U.S. Federal Reserve surprised investors on September 18 by keeping the size of its bond buying programme unchanged.

Fund managers also boosted bond holdings to 38 percent from 37.6 percent. Cash weightings remained high at 8.3 percent, matching August's level, which was the highest in a year. Holdings of property and alternatives declined.

The poll was conducted September 13-26, either side of the Fed decision but before weekend political developments in Washington and Rome heightened concerns about a U.S. government shutdown and the collapse of Italy's coalition government.

"Following the Fed announcements we increased our preference for equity markets, as not tapering gives more downside protection to the near-term growth outlook," ING Investment Management senior portfolio specialist Steyaert Steven said.

"The Fed is clearly making a statement here and says it will make sure monetary conditions stay very accommodative till inflation becomes a concern."

European stocks (.STOXX) have been the biggest gainer in the third quarter, clocking up the best three-month gains in four years. The respondents boosted local equity weightings to 32.4 percent, levels not seen since October 2011.

Holdings in emerging Asian stocks fell to 6.9 percent for the first time since June 2011. U.S. equity allocation fell to 33.8 percent, its lowest since May last year.

(Editing by Catherine Evans)