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Affluent Investors Bet on Tech, Energy for 2015

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Affluent investors are optimistic going into the new year, according Morgan Stanley Wealth Management’s semiannual Investor Pulse Poll, released Monday.

Ninety-three percent of affluent and high-net-worth investors in the poll said they expected their investment portfolios to stay constant or improve this year, with 48% anticipating improvement.

Fifty-three percent expected the investment climate to remain constant, while 23% looked forward to a better climate and 22% a worse one.

Morgan Stanley Wealth Management surveyed 1,008 investors during the fourth quarter. The national sample had household investable assets of $100,000 or more, and one-third had more than $1 million in assets.

Eighty-seven percent of respondents named technology as a top sector for investment in 2015, followed by 75% favoring biotechnology, 71% pharmaceuticals, 69% energy and 65% health care.

Only 33% said tourism was a “good” sector for investment. Other less-favored sectors were entertainment, chosen by 32% of respondents; insurance, 31%; aerospace, 29%; and consumer discretionary, 26%.

The poll found that investors would allocate 44% of their investment portfolios to equities in 2015, with 49% of millionaire investors saying they would do so.

They said the remainder of their portfolios would be allocated 21% to cash, 18% to fixed income and 17% to “other” investments.

Respondents considering where to put their money in 2015 chose the U.S. by a wide margin, with 74% considering it “good.”

Japan, India and China followed as desirable markets, favored by 42%, 40% and 38%, respectively.

Reflecting current geopolitical turmoil, three-quarters of high-net-worth investors considered the Middle East, Ukraine and Russia undesirable places to invest.

Indeed, foreign conflicts were the top-of-mind concern for 86% of investors in the survey.

In addition, 81% worried about the effects of terrorism on the U.S., 80% about the government budget deficit and 79% about U.S. income inequality.

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