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Investor sentiment at record high following four consecutive increases

Staff writer |
Investor sentiment ticked up one point to +29 in the second quarter of 2015, its highest since the inception of the John Hancock Investor Sentiment Index in January of 2011.

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Sentiment has been positive and upward-trending for four consecutive quarters, another first since inception of the Index, and has been stable or upward-trending for a total of eight quarters, since the second quarter of 2013.

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. The second quarter 2015 survey was conducted in mid-May.

"Helping to sustain the upward trend are positive attitudes toward investing in stocks (60 percent), balanced mutual funds (63 percent), investing in one's own home (72 percent), and real estate investments (59 percent). Over a third remains positive on ETFs (36 percent).

"Investors continue to feel good about saving for retirement through 401(k) plans (79 percent), or IRAs (77 percent)," noted Megan E. Greene, Chief Economist, John Hancock Asset Management.

"Moreover, investors are feeling increasingly confident about their financial security, with nearly six in ten (57 percent) reporting that they are in a better financial position compared with two years ago. This level is up significantly from the past three quarters: 51 percent in Q1 2015, and 50 percent in both Q4 and Q3 of 2013," she added.

In another important component of investor confidence, the majority (61 percent) of those surveyed in Q2 2015 said they believed they would have enough to live on, within their means, when they retire.

One quarter expected to have more than enough income, while one in ten (11 percent) feel they will not have enough to cover their expenses when they retire.

Investors are not without worries. The cost of healthcare and political gridlock in Washington, DC continue to be issues about which investors say they are greatly concerned (56 and 51 percent, respectively).

Slightly more than four in ten investors (43 percent) are very concerned about unrest in the Middle East, significantly more than one year ago (27 percent in Q2 2014). One third (34 percent) say they are very concerned about the impact of healthcare reform on employers.

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