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UBS Survey: Investor Pessimism Increasing

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According to a UBS survey released Monday, a growing majority of investors are pessimistic about the outlook for the U.S. economy over the next year. The poll of 2,000-plus investors nationwide found that 63% were pessimistic in late September and early October, up from 60% in July and 28% in April. Meanwhile, the number of optimistic investors stood at 18%, a drop from 21% in July and 52% in April.

On the other hand, the majority of investors, 53%, have an optimistic long-term outlook for the U.S. economy, says UBS. The level of optimism is up slightly from July, when 52% of investors indicated that they were bullish long term, but it is down from April, when 65% shared their long-term optimism with UBS on the U.S. economy.

Robert McCannUBS said the survey’s findings were shared at an event led by Wealth Management Americas CEO Robert J. McCann (left) in Beverly Hills, Calif., early Monday. The event was held as part of the firm’s ongoing Revitalizing America initiative and featured a conversation with former President Bill Clinton and remarks by Los Angeles Mayor Antonio R. Villaraigosa.

“We have polled our clients about their concerns throughout the year, and it is clear Californians–like Americans everywhere–are worried about the economy and the future of our country,” said McCann in a press release. “These apprehensions and WMA’s commitment to addressing them inspired us to initiate ongoing conversations with our clients about what it will take to revitalize America.” 

UBS’ latest survey also found that most California investors (61%) have a pessimistic short-term economic outlook, but most (53%) also have a more favorable long-term view–though there is some divergence between those in the southern and northern parts of the Golden State.

According to the poll, 45% of southern Californians believe the state’s economic prospects are weaker than the nation’s, while 41% of northern Californians express this opinion.

When asked about the greatest obstacles to economic growth, 32% of northern Californians say the state government vs. 30% in the southern part of the Golden State. The state’s tax rates are cited by 25% of southern Californians vs. 23% of their northern counterparts.

In terms of the 2012 presidential elections, economic issues are most important to U.S. investors. When asked about this issues that will most influence how they vote, 39% of investors nationwide said it would come down to economic policies, 19% to unemployment, 17% to the national debt, 8% to tax issues and 6% to social issues.