The beginning of the year always brings a rash of investor surveys and, for once, the results jibe: Mutual fund investors remain confident about 1999.
In Massachusetts Financial Services and OppenheimerFunds Inc. surveys, respondents said they were unfazed by events as diverse as a presidential impeachment in the U.S., bombs in Iraq, fighting between the Israelis and Palestinians, and Olympic Committee scandals.
About 80% of investors told MFS that a presidential impeachment wasn't a reason for taking money out of the stock market, and 69% said the Middle East crisis wasn't enough to make them flee to cash. Two-thirds of MFS survey respondents said short-term events wouldn't make them change their asset allocations.
OppenheimerFunds found that while 60% of investors surveyed were "concerned" about the market, entering the new year (up from 49% last year), 71% said they wouldn't change their portfolio allocations in the next six months. About 8% said they would only sell stock funds if the market dropped "dramatically," while 37% said they'd buy more. Investor expectations seem more reasonable than in recent years: Seven in 10 respondents said they expect average annual stock market returns of 13% or less.
A survey of older Americans by the American Association of Retired People, through its investment program at Scudder Kemper Investments Inc., found 53% of investors ages 50 to 54 plan to increase stock fund holdings in the next six months. A majority of investors older than 55 (71%) said they would maintain the status quo.
The Scudder AARP survey found that across age categories, 44% said they intended to increase stock holdings.