A recent survey conducted by the Center for Audit Quality reveals that two-thirds of individual investors believe in the markets. And while that’s not a ringing endorsement, I have to admit I was a bit surprised.
After all, how much mayhem have retail traders endured over the last few years? There was Madoff and Rajaratnam. There was high-frequency trading and flash crashes. Oh, yeah … and that whole losing your life savings in the 2008 downturn.
But get this: Almost two-thirds of individual investors (65%) have at least some confidence in U.S. capital markets. That’s an increase of 4 percentage points from 2011, according to the sixth annual Main Street Investor Survey.
From the Center for Audit Quality:
“Confidence in domestic markets has held remarkably steady throughout the financial crisis,” Executive Director Cindy Fornelli said. “Individual investors, as a group, have confidence in audited financial information released by public companies and believe that auditors are effective in looking out for investors’ interests.”
- 70% of investors believe the American economy will either stay the same or improve over the next year; only 20% believe it will get worse.
- While just 25% of investors expect their personal financial situation to improve, 64% expect it to stay the same over the next year. At least they aren’t worried!
- Confidence in capital markets outside the United States fell to a low of 35% (from 43% in 2011).
Interesting stuff. It appears that despite all the nonsense that has happened, investors are more willing to play the stock market game in 2012 — and might be getting their swagger back.
It’s worth noting, of course, that this survey was conducted and released during a rally for U.S. equities. The S&P 500 is up about 15% year-to-date … so I wonder what the results would be if we saw a big leg down tomorrow.
Jeff Reeves is the editor of InvestorPlace.com and the author of “The Frugal Investor’s Guide to Finding Great Stocks.” Write him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter via@JeffReevesIP.