somewhat again in the third quarter of 2012, according to the John
Hancock Investor Sentiment Index, released today by John Hancock
in the third quarter compared with a score of +19 in the second
quarter of this year. The shift was driven by a drop in positive
attitudes toward investing in bonds partially offset by very small
upticks in stocks and real estate.
It was the second consecutive two-point drop quarter to quarter for
the Index, which also declined from +21 in Q1 2012 to +19 in Q2 2012.
Still, the Index remains above the +15 score in the fourth quarter of
2011, and well above its low of +10 in the third quarter of 2011.
The John Hancock Investor Sentiment Index@ is a quarterly measure of
investors' views on a range of investment choices, life goals, and
economic outlook, as well as their confidence in these areas. The
John Hancock Investor Sentiment Index@ is derived from a quarterly
poll of approximately 1,000 investors, and reflects the percentage of
those who say they believe it is a "good" or "very good" time to
invest, minus those who feel the opposite. The third quarter survey
was conducted from mid-to late August of 2012.
Investors' views on most types of investments remained largely
unchanged in the third quarter of 2012 compared with the year's second
quarter. Forty-nine percent of investors in the third quarter said it
was a good time to invest in stocks compared to 48 percent in the
second quarter. Nearly 25 percent thought it was a good time to invest
in bonds (24 percent), down slightly from 27 percent in Q2.
However, several measures have changed significantly compared with
levels of one year ago. Investors were more bullish on stocks in Q3 of
this year, with 49 percent saying it was a good time to invest in
them, which is up from 41 percent in the third quarter of 2011.
Fifty-one percent of investors had positive views of balanced mutual
funds in Q3 of 2012, which also is up significantly from 42 percent in
Q2 of last year.
Optimism seems to be rising in certain areas. Positive attitudes are
increasing toward retirement products, with 73 percent saying it is a
good time to contribute to 401(k) plans or IRAs, whereas in the third
quarter of last year that number for IRAs was 67 percent and 66
percent for 401(k) plans. While healthcare costs remain a major worry
for investors, the share of investors ranking it highest as a concern
(56 percent) is down significantly from 64 percent in the second
quarter of 2012.
However not all themes are positive. Optimism about stock market
growth has waned. Significantly fewer investors now think the Dow
will close above 13,000 in June of 2013 (67 percent), compared with 74
percent in the second quarter of 2012 who thought the market would
reach that level. And compared with the second quarter of this year,
more people are worried about being able to save enough for retirement
(33 percent in Q3 of this year versus 27 percent who were worried in
"Investors are showing consistency in their attitudes toward many
investment products, and seem to be saying there isn't much on the
horizon that would cause them to change their views," said Bill
positive trends, for example with investors remaining committed to
investing in retirement plans such as 401(k)s and IRAs. Nine in ten
investors (88 percent) are confident in their ability to maintain a
financially secure retirement. And 94 percent of those we surveyed
describe themselves as long-term investors."
Among the findings for Q3 2012:
— Investors predicted that blue chip stocks will perform best over
the next six months. Twenty-four percent said this, up sharply from 17
percent who thought so in the third quarter of 2011. Small caps have
the best outlook according to 13 percent of investors, whereas seven
percent thought so a year ago.
— Of the major issues facing the US, investors' chief concern
continued to be the level of the national debt (62 percent), which
replaced healthcare costs as the top concern
— Nearly four in ten investors (36 percent) predicted that the
inflation rate will be four percent or higher two years from now,
while just 21 percent thought inflation will run at less than three
— Saving for retirement remained investors' biggest financial
priority (34 percent said this). As a top priority, paying down debt
has dropped in importance, with nine percent saying it is most
important to them compared with 14 percent who said so in Q3 of last
About the John Hancock Investor Sentiment Survey John Hancock's
survey measures investors' feelings about the current economic climate
and their evaluations of what represents a good or bad investment
given the current environment. The poll also asks consumers about
their confidence in reaching key financial goals and likelihood of
purchasing financial products and services.
This online survey was conducted by independent research firm Mathew
among members of Research Now's online research panel. To qualify,
respondents were required to participate at least to some extent in
their household's financial decision-making process, have a household
income of at least
The data were weighted by age and education to reflect the population
of Americans matching the survey's qualification requirements. In a
similarly-sized random sample survey, the margin of error would be
plus or minus 3.12 percentage points at the 95 percent confidence
level. Due to rounding and missing categories, numbers presented may
not always total to 100 percent.
Hancock Financial is a unit of
Hancock celebrates 150 years of serving clients across the United
States, while Manulife celebrates its 125th anniversary. Operating as
John Hancock in
offers clients a diverse range of financial protection products and
wealth management services through its extensive network of employees,
agents and distribution partners. Funds under management by Manulife
Financial and its subsidiaries were
can be found on the Internet at manulife.com.
The John Hancock unit, through its insurance companies, comprises one
of the largest life insurers in
a broad range of financial products and services, including life
insurance, annuities, fixed products, mutual funds, 401(k) plans,
long-term care insurance, college savings, and other forms of business
insurance. Additional information about John Hancock may be found at
SOURCE John Hancock Financial
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