July 02, 2012
--- Investor confidence
softened somewhat in the second quarter, according to the Investor Sentiment
Index, released Monday by John Hancock Financial Services. ---
The John Hancock
Investor Sentiment Index remains in positive territory. Slight declines, to +19,
from +21 in the first quarter, are because of less-optimistic views on
equities. More investors are concerned
about Eurozone debt and less worried about unrest in the Middle East.
The Index shows that investors overall feel almost the same
about investing this year compared with last year. In the same quarter a year
earlier, the Index score was +18.
Investing for retirement remains popular. Nearly eight in
ten investors (78%) feel that now is a good time to be investing in 401(k)
plans, and three-quarters (74%) have similar feelings about individual
retirement accounts (IRAs). Investors felt about the same a year ago, with 80%
saying the second quarter of 2011 was a good time to be investing in 401(k)
plans, while 79% said it was a good time for IRA investing.
Investors’ views on most types of investments remain
unchanged in the second quarter from the first. Attitudes toward balanced
mutual funds were similar to the previous quarter, with 52% now saying that it
is a good time to be investing in balanced mutual funds, a slight dip from 54%
in the first quarter.
Blue-chip stocks will perform the best over the next six
months of this year, said nearly 20% of investors. Small-cap stocks (picked by
16% of investors to perform best) were next, followed by emerging-market
securities (14%). Only 4% of those surveyed believe international equities will
perform well, with even fewer (2%) optimistic about government bonds. Investors
believe that energy, technology and health care companies will provide the best
investment opportunities in the next six months. Investors are more inclined
than in the previous quarter to cite health care as a leading sector (47%
compared with 42% last quarter).