Global equity market volatility and expectations in December that the Federal Reserve would end historically low interest rates appear to have tempered investor optimism in the fourth quarter, John Hancock reported Monday.
John Hancock’s investor sentiment index fell to +22 in the fourth quarter, down one point from the previous quarter and matching a low last reached in the third quarter of 2013. The quarterly poll reflects the percentage of affluent investors who say they believe it is a “good” or “very good” time to invest, minus those who feel the opposite.
Greenwald & Associates conducted the online survey of 1,018 investors in mid-November.
Fifty-three percent of respondents cited unrest in the Middle East as the global issue that worried them most. John Hancock said this finding was significantly higher than one year ago when 41% expressed this concern, and was likely due to terror attacks in Paris, which occurred while the survey was underway.
“Confidence in investing in stocks has decreased to 49% this quarter from 60% one year ago, and we saw a similar decline in optimism toward investing in balanced mutual funds, which incorporate stocks and bonds, a drop to 52% from 58% one year ago,” Megan Greene, chief economist at John Hancock Asset Management, said in a statement.