The Affluent Investor Confidence Index fell nine points in August to –18, its lowest level in a year, while the Millionaire Investor Confidence Index fell four points in August to –9, remaining at a neutral level, the consulting firm Spectrem Group announced Wednesday.
The decline brings the Spectrem affluent index, which measures the investment confidence and outlook of households with $500,000 or more in investable assets, to its lowest level since August 2010, when it stood at -20.
The index is now in mildly bearish territory, down from neutral in July, Spectrem says.
“Affluent investors saw their investment confidence decline sharply in August, dropping to its lowest level since this time last year and falling to a mildly bearish stance,” said George Walper, president of Spectrem. “Meanwhile, the nation’s millionaires, who experienced a smaller decline in confidence, remained in neutral territory. This truly tumultuous month for the stock market has clearly unnerved America’s affluent investors, who have focused their attention on the political environment and market conditions.”
In response to an open-ended question from Spectrem about the news story most affecting their economic outlook, affluent investors in August cited: the political environment (28%); stock market conditions (12%); unemployment (10%); the economy (9%); the deficit (8%); international problems (7%), and gas and oil prices (1%).
Those citing the political environment rose from 17% in May 2011, the last time this question was asked, and those citing stock market conditions rose from 3%.
Millionaires were more focused on the political environment (32%) than the affluent and were equally focused on unemployment (10%).
The Spectrem Affluent Investor Confidence Index is based on 250 monthly email interviews with the financial decision-makers in households that have $500,000 or more in investable assets.
The data have a margin of error of plus or minus 6.2 percentage points. The Spectrem Millionaire Investor Confidence Index is based on a subset of the overall survey group.