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Compared with the last three months of 2012, a significantly larger share of investors think that now is a good time to invest in stocks (58 percent vs. 48 percent in Q4 2012). The number of investors who believe now is a good time to invest in balanced mutual funds also increased significantly to 57 percent, compared with 50 percent in Q4 2012. Real estate, including one's own home, also registered positively, with the share citing one's own home as a good investment at 65 percent and real estate at 64 percent, compared with 59 percent for both at the end of 2012. A large segment of investors appear committed to funneling cash to investments, with 64 percent saying it is a bad time to hold on to cash.
"We are seeing a remarkable shift in sentiment on the part of investors," said
Investors also say that now is a good time to invest in 401(k) plans (82 percent compared with 73 percent who thought it was a good time in Q4 of 2012), and they are also favorably inclined toward IRAs, with 79 percent saying it is a good time to put money in those plans compared with 72 percent who thought so in Q4 of last year.
When assessing the economy's prospects, nearly a quarter of investors (23 percent) believe that blue chip stocks will perform best over the next six months. One in seven thinks that emerging markets and small cap stocks will perform the best (14 percent each). Investors continue to favor energy companies (50 percent), healthcare companies (48 percent) or technology companies (47 percent) when asked which are likely to provide the best investment opportunity over the next six months.
Concern over many national issues is on the decline, except for concern about the cost of healthcare, according to the Index survey. Investors are very concerned about the cost of healthcare (59 percent, consistent with 58 percent in Q4 of 2012). Nine in ten investors (89 percent) believe that healthcare costs will rise this year, including 29 percent who believe healthcare costs will rise a great deal. More than two-thirds of investors are very or somewhat concerned about being able to afford high quality healthcare (69 percent), with six in ten worried about being able to afford nursing home or long-term care (58 percent).
Worries about political gridlock continue to run high, with 58 percent of investors very concerned about the situation, although the level has decreased from 63 percent in Q4 2012.
Over a third of investors report that they are very concerned about potential changes to
The share of investors who are very concerned about oil and gas prices has increased significantly from Q4 of 2012 (now 41 percent versus 34 percent then), but is significantly lower than the same quarter last year (49 percent in Q1 of 2012).
As for their top financial priorities, 42 percent of workers say that saving for retirement is their main focus, while seven in ten retirees (72 percent) say that maintaining their current lifestyle is their top financial priority.
About John Hancock Financial and
John Hancock Financial is a division of
The John Hancock unit, through its insurance companies, comprises one of the largest life insurers in
SOURCE John Hancock Financial