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Most investment managers foresee slow growth for several years, yet don't expect to see a double-dip recession, according to the latest Investment Manager Outlook survey by Russell Investments. About 78% of respondents said strong corporate balance sheets and high profit levels will stave off any double-dip. "We have seen a consistent spate of negative economic news that has certainly impacted investors' confidence in the markets and we continue to see notable volatility," said Rachel Carroll, client portfolio manager at Russell Investments. "Yet among professional money managers we are seeing a focus on fundamentals such as strong corporate profits that is supporting an overall bullish sentiment, particularly for large cap U.S. corporate stocks," Carroll said. "While we believe managers' low expectations for overall economic growth are realistic, the collective bullish sentiment and their views on market valuations indicate that they see a buying opportunity in the equity markets." The survey sample was split on the Federal Reserve's decision to keep interest rates low through mid-2013 with 49% expecting it to help the economy and 51% doubting its usefulness. The investment managers' expectations for growth mirror those for housing. Rick Sharga, executive vice president with Carrington Mortgage Holdings, said recently that U.S. housing already hit its bottom this year and will remain flat through 2014. Russell Investments surveys senior-level investment managers quarterly to gauge overall economic sentiment at equities and fixed-income firms. Write to Kerri Panchuk.

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