September 10, 2004

There's a Bear in This Election: The Affluent Investor

CHICAGO (HedgeWorld.com)--The Spectrem Group reported that its Spectrem Affluent Investor Index dropped in August to its lowest level since February on concerns about the U.S. presidential election and higher fuel prices.

The index measures the bullish or bearish sentiments of U.S. households with US$500,000 or more in investment assets. This is its second consecutive month with a neutral reading, and the trend is toward bearish.

"It's not at all clear what if anything will reverse this negative trend in sentiment prior to November 2nd [election day]," said George H. Walper, Jr., president of the Spectrem Group, according to a statement announcing the latest survey results.

The index is based on a survey that consists of 250 telephone interviews, 10 minutes each, with the financial decision-makers in qualified households. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 6.2 percentage points. The Spectrem Group also tracks households with investable assets of US$1,000,000 or more, in what it unsurprisingly calls The Spectrem Millionaire Index.

The Millionaire Index remained in mildly bullish territory in August. This group has had a somewhat more optimistic outlook than the Affluent Investor sample throughout the year.

When asked an open-ended question about what news events were most important to their economic outlook, nearly half of the respondents to the Affluent Investor survey cited either the election (26%) or higher fuel prices (20%). The Iraq war loomed third at 11%, then higher interest rates 5%, jobs and job security 4% and terrorism 1%.

CFaille@HedgeWorld.com

Contact Bob Keane with questions or comments at: bkeane@investmentadvisor.com.

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