Gallup Survey: Too Many Americans Out of Touch With Stocks

Wednesday, 20 Aug 2014 08:50 PM

By Dan Weil

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Many American investors are in the dark as to the stock market's advance last year, and they aren't particularly optimistic about equities going forward, according to a recent Wells Fargo/Gallup survey.

While the Standard & Poor's index rose 30 percent last year, only 7 percent of U.S. investors know that, according to the poll.

A total of 21 percent thought the market was unchanged, and 9 percent thought it fell. In addition, 37 percent thought it gained 10 percent, and 17 percent thought it climbed 20 percent.

Editor’s Note: Retire 10 Years Earlier With These 4 Stocks

Meanwhile, 46 percent have an optimistic view of stocks for the next year, 25 percent are pessimistic and 26 percent are neutral.

The lack of knowledge about stocks "raises important questions about investors' ability to accurately assess market risk, and therefore to take advantage of the market to grow their wealth," writes Gallup's Lydia Saad.

"It is exemplified by the finding that so many investors would opt to park an additional $10,000 in cash or CDs [certificates of deposit], where they are virtually guaranteed no meaningful growth, rather than invest it in stocks."

Stifel’s chief equity strategist Barry Bannister and associate analyst Jesse Cantor apparently are more bullish than most investors.

They predict the S&P 500 will close the year at 2,300, up 16 percent from Wednesday's close of 1,986.51, Barron's reports

"The three secular bull markets over six years long, roughly the 1920s, 1950s and 1990s, all coalesced at this exact point before moving higher," Bannister and Cantor write in a report obtained by Barron's.

Editor’s Note: Retire 10 Years Earlier With These 4 Stocks

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