The John Hancock Investor Sentiment Index® reflects the percentage of investors who say they believe it is a “good” or “very good” time to invest, minus those who feel the opposite.
“Investors’ confidence in equity market investing is significantly higher than in the last four reported quarters of the Survey,” said
Confidence in putting money into stock mutual funds also increased significantly over the past year, with 55 percent of investors saying it was a good or very good time to choose equity funds versus 38 percent in Q1 of 2016 who felt that way. Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs) also rose in investors’ estimation, with 39 percent expressing confidence compared with 24 percent one year ago. Positive attitudes extended to investing in home ownership too, as well as other real estate investments.
Saving for retirement continues to be a priority for non-retired investors, and confidence in investing in 401(k)s, IRAs, and target date funds also saw an upswing in sentiment. For example, 78 percent of investors thought it was a good or very good time to dedicate funds to 401(k) accounts in Q1 of 2017 compared to 68 percent who felt that way in Q1 of 2016.
“Largely due to the stability of the stock market, investors believe it is now a good time to make significant changes to their portfolios, the survey tells us,” added
To be sure, investors report plenty of concerns in the John Hancock survey. Topping the list is the cost of health care, with 56 percent expressing great concern, and a third saying they are greatly concerned over potential changes to the Affordable Care Act. Forty-two percent are very concerned about global terrorism. Investors are concerned, though less so than in previous quarters, about the level of the national debt, and interest rates. Fewer are concerned about the unemployment rate, and more investors feel it is now a good time to start a business, switch jobs, or retire.
Half of investors (51 percent) report being in a better financial position now compared to two years ago, significantly more than the share who felt this way one year ago (41 percent). Consistent with prior surveys, nearly half believe they will be in a better financial position two years in the future (48 percent).
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