High-net-worth investors’ and business owners’ sentiment about the stock market and the economy has seriously eroded since the beginning of the year, yet their long-term outlook remains surprisingly robust, according to a new UBS Investor watch Pulse survey.
UBS polled 1,004 investors with at least $1 million in investable assets and 502 business owners with at least $250,000 in annual revenue and at least one employee other than themselves from March 21 to March 24. A poll it conducted two weeks earlier comprised 1,895 investors and 706 business owners, and another one completed Jan. 7 involved 915 investors and 500 business owners.
Investors’ sentiment toward the stock market plummeted from 64% who were optimistic in the January survey, to 35% in early March and 30% in late March.
Yet, 58% of investors planned to keep their portfolios the same in the next six months, while 31% said they would invest more and only 11% said they would invest less.
Thirty-four percent said now was a good time to invest, while 42% said they would wait until the market had dropped another 5% to 20%.
Fifty-nine percent of investors were pessimistic on the U.S. economy, up from 48% in early March and just 16% in January. However, long-term optimism remained high and unchanged from early March at 77%, and was up 11 percentage points from January.
Not surprisingly, COVID-19 was investors’ top concern in the latest poll, with 70% highly worried, up from 50% in early March. Concern about market volatility also shot up, to 59% from 46% in early March. Concerns about the political environment held steady at around 60%.
Ninety-eight percent of investors said the coronavirus had affected their lives in some way, up 25 points from early March.