Investors were rattled by the thousand-point fluctuation in the Dow Jones Industrial average in late October, according to Spectrem Group. Both millionaire and affluent investors said they would avoid individual stock investing, even though the overall effect was negligible.
Spectrem’s monthly investor confidence indices, which track changes in investment sentiment among the 17 million American households with more than $500,000 of investable assets (SAICI), and those with $1 million or more (SMICI).
The SMICI dropped four points to 3 in October, while the SAICI fell two points to 4.
These are the indexes’ ranges: -31 to -51, bearish; -11 to -30, mildly bearish; 10 to -10, neutral; 11 to 30, mildly bullish; and 31 to 51, bullish.
Spectrem fielded its survey between Oct. 19 and Oct. 25, during which the DJIA fluctuated between a high of 25,608 and a low of 24,583.
Spectrem noted that investor confidence fell in October as political commentators increasingly touted Democrats’ chances of taking control of the House of Representatives after the midterm elections and stymying some of the White House’s pro-business plans going forward.
Another tariff the U.S. imposed on China also sapped investor optimism as trade negotiations continued between the countries. Likewise, the prospect of sanctions against Saudi Arabia in the aftermath of Saudi dissident Jamal Khashoggi’s murder, which could affect oil imports.
As a result, Spectrem said, millionaire investors turned their backs on the individual stock market and toward stock mutual funds, individual bonds and cash investing. Non-millionaires, meanwhile, reduced their involvement in most categories of investing.
Forty-five percent of non-millionaires said they would not extend their investing in the coming month. More millionaires said they planned to invest, but indicated they would do so in safety products.
Stock investing among non-millionaires fell by 12% to 22.1%, and among millionaires, cash investing increased to 30.5%, the highest level of the year and the highest since October 2017.
Spectrem also reported that its household outlook, a monthly measure of long-term confidence among investors across four financial factors affecting households, dropped more than 12 points overall to 17.50, while among millionaires, it fell to 13.67, the lowest level since October 2016.
Spectrem’s outlook in the economy was savaged in October, plunging from 18.40 to -2.40 overall and from 23.66 to -11.72 among millionaires.
“The news cycle for investors is nonstop these days, and the endless campaigning for the midterm elections elicits confusion among investors,” Spectrem’s president George Walper said in a statement.