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Retail Investors Bullish in Trump Era: E-Trade

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Politics and passion are influencing how experienced investors are managing their portfolios in the Trump era, as evidenced by E-Trade’s quarterly tracking survey, released Tuesday.

E-Trade also reported that investors this quarter, at least before Inauguration Day, were feeling much more like Raging Bull and much less Dazed and Confused when asked to pick the movie title that best described their attitude toward the market.

Sixty-five percent of investors purported to be bullish on the market, up from 55% of investors polled in the fourth quarter.

ResearchNow conducted an online survey in early January among a U.S. sample of 904 self-directed active investors who manage at least $10,000 in an online brokerage account. The panel was broken into thirds: those who trade more than once a week, less than once a week but more than once a month and less than once a month. Sixty-five percent of the panel was male and 35% female, and 62% was conservative and 38% liberal.

Political and Generational Divide

The latest E-Trade survey found that 68% of conservatives believed the new administration would benefit their retirement portfolio, compared with just 30% of liberals.

Sixty-four percent of liberals and 57% of conservatives said they planned to make changes to their portfolio in response to White House policies.

As to which Trump administration economic proposals excited them:

  • Personal tax cuts: Conservatives, 58%; Liberals, 64%
  • Spending more on infrastructure: Conservatives, 34%; Liberals, 69%
  • Fewer government regulations: Conservatives, 57%; Liberals, 29%
  • Business tax cuts: Conservatives, 32%; Liberals, 18%
  • Redoing U.S. trade: Conservatives, 19%; Liberals, 20%

“While deep-seated political beliefs may be difficult to curb, we always caution against emotional investing, urging investors to be guided by their head and not their heart,” Mike Loewengart, E-Trade’s vice president of investment strategy, said in a statement.

Loewengart noted that 56% of boomers, 55% of millennials and 50% of Gen Xers believed the new administration would benefit their retirement portfolio.

In addition, 67% of millennials expressed excitement about the prospect of personal tax cuts, as did 60% of Gen Xers and 54% of boomers.

And only 42% of boomers were likely to make changes to their portfolio this quarter: 42%, compared with 77% of millennials who said they planned to do so, and 61% of Gen Xers.


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