STOCK markets around the world have plummeted with investors spooked by the credit crunch, a swelling rate of unemployment, and a slumping economy - and if the smart money is any indication, do not bet on a quick recovery.
The consensus from a survey of 16 fund managers by OCBC Wealth Management is that equity markets have not bottomed out yet.
Investors should also be prepared for more market weakness and volatility in the months ahead.
But if there is a silver lining, it is the possibility that markets could stage a recovery in the second half of next year if the global economy shows signs of improvement.
The fund managers polled included Aberdeen Asset Management, UBS Global Asset Management, HSBC Global Asset Management, Fortis Investments, Schroder Investment Management, DBS Asset Management and Lion Global Investors.
ING Investment Management warned that caution is 'best heeded' as risk aversion has risen to heights rarely seen before, while Prudential Asset Management has tipped global growth to 'likely remain very weak' next year.
Most fund managers were confident that the countries in the Asia ex-Japan region will emerge from the crisis stronger.
According to Aberdeen Asset Management, these countries enjoy 'strong fiscal positions' and have accumulated 'large foreign exchange reserves' over the years, which should help them weather the slowdown.
But some fund managers also favoured developed markets like the United States and Britain.
UBS Asset Management regards such markets as attractive as they are 'profiting the most from proactive and aggressive interest rate cuts'.
'If risk aversion remains high in the coming months, these developed markets may prove to be safer,' it said.