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Affluent Bullish, But Watchful of Oil Prices

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CHICAGO (–The Spectrem Group said that the investment outlook traced by its “affluent index” (based on a survey of households with US$500,000 or more in assets) gained another point in February, remaining in mildly bullish territory.

On a scale ranging from positive 30 to negative 30, neutral terrain ranges from positive 10 to to negative 10. The affluent investor index broke out of neutrality in January, reaching 12, and now, in February, 13.

Likewise, the millionaire index, which measures the mood of households with US$1 million or more in investable assets, has risen in each of the last four months, reaching 23 in February, its highest level since June 2004. It’s within two points of its all-time high, the 25 of April 2004.

“While the February advancement is positive directionally, it is worth noting that the month’s improvement was the smallest since the millionaire index began its rally, suggesting millionaires may be looking for a definitive sign of economic or market strength before moving substantially higher,” said George H. Walper Jr., president of Spectrem Group, in a statement.

Responding to an open-ended question about the biggest threat to household financial goals, the largest group of the affluent cited oil and gas prices (14%), the Iraq war (11%), and then Federal Reserve issues (6%). The view of the narrower millionaire group was similar. Their biggest three threats are, in order, oil and gas prices (15%), the war (9%), and the deficit (6%).

The results of these surveys are announced on the first Wednesday of each month.

Spectrem Group is a strategic consulting firm specializing in the affluent and retirement markets, integrating proprietary research with expertise on building business, marketing, and acquisition strategies.

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Contact Bob Keane with questions or comments at [email protected].