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Investor sentiment in Canada has continued its downward spiral according to Manulife Financial, (NYSE:MFC), Toronto, ON, and the results of their latest Manulife Financial Sentiment Index.

Results peg the index now sitting at +24, down two points from December 2011 and down another five points from June 2011. Although investor sentiment was up six points when asked about confidence in investing in the stock market, across all other investment vehicles enthusiasm was down. This includes fixed income investments, investment properties, balanced funds and cash.

The situation in Europe has dampened the rising sentiment that investors were experiencing a year ago. When compared with December 2011 results, Canadians as a whole feel that now is not the best time to invest in savings vehicles. Attitudes towards mutual funds stayed somewhat stable this period with a drop of only one point. Tax Free Savings Account investor sentiment remains high but is still down four points. Registered Education Savings Plans and Registered Retirement Savings Plans as well as segregated funds experienced large drops; eight seven and eight points, respectively.

The Manulife Financial Investor Sentiment Index increased its sample size this year to 2,000 investors. The increase allowed for regional-specific data to help demonstrate similarities and disparities across the country.

“Recent economic challenges, including the persistent financial instability in Europe, help us understand why Canadians remain cautious about investing. As these global economic challenges dominate headlines without any significant sign of recovery, confidence in financial markets will continue to be uncertain,” said Paul Rooney, President and CEO of Manulife Canada.