Independent investment advisors say the economy is improving, and expect that it will continue to do so over the next six months, according to a poll conducted in July by Schwab Institutional. Of 174 advisors surveyed, 63.8% agreed that economic conditions were improving, 25.9% said conditions were “holding steady,” and 9.2% said conditions were “deteriorating.” Looking out over the next five years, 81% have a positive market outlook, while 41.4% believe the war in Iraq had a “positive” effect on market performance.

“We were very interested in gauging what advisors were thinking about the economy based on the three-year bear market, and all that has gone on, including the scandals on Wall Street and the war in Iraq,” offers Tim Welsh, director of marketing for Schwab Institutional. “The results indicate that they were very positive.” At the same time, less than one-third of the advisors surveyed indicated that government action, such as the Wall Street research settlement, has improved investor confidence. Those advisors say an improving economy as well as increased international political stability will do more to improve investor confidence than changes in the way stock research is conducted.