Investor optimism falls

May 27, 2003 at 11:31 AM
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NEW YORK, May 27 (UPI) -- The Gallup Organization and UBS AG said Tuesday that investor optimism fell in May as investors expressed concerns about the nation's economy and job market.

The UBS Index of Investor Optimism dropped 24 points in May to 42 from 66 in April.

The monthly index, jointly run by UBS AG and the Gallup Organization, had a baseline of 124 when it was established in 1996.

In the May survey, investors expressed less confidence about the direction of the unemployment rate over the next 12 months, with 33 percent of those polled expressing optimism, compared with 41 percent in April.

The survey also showed that 46 percent of those polled are optimistic about economic growth in the coming year, down from 49 percent in April.

Although those surveyed in May were more negative than in April, investors also showed more optimism than in March, when the index hit its lowest level ever.

Nearly half of those surveyed, or 45 percent, continue to think the economy has not bottomed out yet, down from 61 percent in March.

The survey also showed 58 percent of those polled said they believe now is a good time to invest in the financial markets, up from 54 percent last month, and reaching its highest level since June 2002.

Investors also saw a prolonged economic downturn as the top threat to the U.S. investment climate, followed by major terrorist attacks; instability in the Middle East; strained relations between the U.S. and some European countries; a potential conflict with North Korea; and the spread of severe acute respiratory syndrome.

The survey, which has a sampling error of plus or minus 3 percentage points, was conducted from May 1 to May 14 and included 1,001 randomly selected investors, defined as any head of household or spouse in a household with total savings and investments of $10,000 or more.

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