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Investor index is nearing a 17-year high


Most investors in a Wells Fargo/Gallup survey say they are “somewhat” or “very” optimistic that they will meet their investment goals over the next five years, according to a release.

Investors were upbeat about all seven aspects of the index, with strong optimism about economic growth, stock market performance and employment. Retired investors are more optimistic than nonretired, with an optimism index score of 151 versus 135 for nonretired investors.

According to the survey, formally called the Wells Fargo/Gallup Investor and Retirement Optimism Index, 72 percent of investors were optimistic about their five-year investment goals, up from 52 percent in the same quarter of 2012.

Overall, the index held steady in the fourth quarter at 140. It was 138 in the third quarter. The index is near its September 2000 high of 147. 

Investors lean heavily on their 401(k) plans, with 46 percent of respondents saying they would save less or stop saving if the plans lost their tax-deferred status.

Three-quarters of nonretired investors in the survey have a 401(k) plan, with 57 percent saying the most valued feature of their plan is the matching contribution from their employer. The next most valued feature is the tax deferral on the money they contribute. 

According to the release, investor optimism generally tracks with market gains, as the S&P has gained nearly 100 percent since the fourth quarter of 2012.

The survey was conducted by telephone Nov. 1-5 with 1,015 U.S. investors, 67 percent of whom are nonretired and 33 percent of whom are retired. Click here to read the report.

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