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Affluent a Bit More Confident, but Very Concerned: Spectrem Poll

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Affluent investors seem to be slightly more confident, according to the latest results of the Spectrem Affluent Investor Confidence Index, released Wednesday.

This trend is supported by the latest results of the broader Consumer Confidence Index, which dropped a bit in June, the Conference Board said Tuesday, but revealed in increase in expectations for current economic conditions. In addition, the Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index rose a few percentage points in June, the news group said Tuesday.

Spectrem, which surveys about 200 investors with $500,000 and up in investable assets, says that the Spectrem Affluent Investor Confidence Index gained 1 point in June and stands at negative 4, reversing two consecutive months of declines. The Spectrem Millionaire Investor Confidence Index, however, dipped two points to 1, a five-month low.

Millionaires in particular continue to have concerns about the prolonged economic downturn,” said George H. Walper Jr., president of Spectrem Group, in a press release. “This is reflected in the Household Outlook component of the index. The overall Millionaire Outlook dropped to its lowest reading since last November, while millionaire confidence in the economy posted its lowest reading in eight months.”

When asked what they consider to be the most serious threat to achieving their financial goals, affluent investors cite the political climate, Walper adds. Millionaires, though, are most likely to consider the ongoing eurozone crisis to be the most serious threat to achieving their financial goals.

Consumer Index

The Conference Board says the Consumer Confidence Index fell to 62 from 64.4 in May. The group’s Expectations Index declined to 72.3 from 77.3, but the Present Situation Index increased to 46.6 from 44.9 in May.

“Consumers were somewhat more positive about current conditions, but slightly more pessimistic about the short-term outlook,” explained Lynn Franco, director of economic indicators for the Conference Board. “Income expectations, which had improved last month, declined in June.”

Still, Franco notes, the improvement in the Present Situation Index, combined with a moderate softening in consumer expectations, “suggests there will be little change in the pace of economic activity in the near term.”

Consumers’ assessment of current conditions as measured by the Conference Board improved slightly in June. Those claiming business conditions were “good” increased to 14.9% from 13.6%; however, those saying business conditions were “bad” increased to 35.1% from 34.7%.

Consumers’ appraisal of the job market was mixed. Those stating jobs were “hard to get” increased to 41.5% from 40.9%, while those claiming jobs were “plentiful” increased to 7.8% from 7.5%.

Meanwhile, the Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index rose to negative 36.1 in the week ended June 24 from negative 37.9 in the previous period. The gauge of household finances was positive for the first time since April, according to the news organization, while sentiment toward the state of the economy dropped to the lowest level since February.