Tags: Investor | Uncertainty | High

Investor Uncertainty Highest in Six Years, Poll Finds

Friday, 23 Dec 2011 07:41 AM

Investors are less certain about the direction of the stock market now than they have been in six years, a poll finds.

An American Association of Individual Investors poll shows that 38 percent of respondents expect stock prices to remain flat in the next six months, the most since April of 2005, CNBC reports.

Blame the European debt crisis, ongoing political bickering in the United States and economic growth rates that remain stuck in the doldrums.
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"The sentiment numbers reflect the sense that a short-term solution to the problems here and in Europe do not exist," says Charles Rotblut, vice president at AAII, CNBC adds.

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(Getty Images photo)
"There is also a sense of frustration about the inability to get good returns right now."

The Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan's December index on consumer sentiment rose to 69.9, up from 64.1 in November, the highest reading in six months.

The figure topped the median forecast of 68.0 among economists polled by Reuters and beat December's preliminary figure of 67.7.

Initial jobless claims are declining and overall unemployment rates appear to getting better as well, even if only slightly.

"I think it's a reflection of improving job statistics, we're seeing an increase in retail sales and even housing seems to be going up," says Jack Ablin, chief investment officer at Harris Private Bank in Chicago, Reuters adds.

"A lot of the key bookends of our economy appear to be really strengthening and that's supporting confidence."

Still, optimism could come crashing down if Europe's debt crisis worsens.

Rating agencies have said downgrades are possible in 2012 for most eurozone countries and not just debt-ridden periphery nations.

"The economic reports are a mixed bag, but it looks like the bias is to the upside ... some people believe in a Santa Claus rally [leading up to the holidays]," says Joseph Saluzzi, co-head of equity trading at Themis Trading, according to CNNMoney.

"But all it takes is one headline out of Europe and everything can reverse real fast — and people are on watch for a European sovereign downgrade."

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Investors are less certain about the direction of the stock market now than they have been in six years, a poll finds. An American Association of Individual Investors poll shows that 38 percent of respondents expect stock prices to remain flat in the next six months, the...
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Friday, 23 Dec 2011 07:41 AM
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