What caused the rise to 1 from -8 was not immediately clear according to George Walper, president of Lake Forrest, Ill.-based Spectrem Group. It will be a few months before the trends really become clear, he said.
"It is kind of interesting. that there is an uptick; that's why I'd like to see what happens the next few months," Walper observed. "I suspect that given the presidential election that there's a significantly greater attention to how the media is covering things. They're more paying more attention so they might be interpreting some of these things more positively even though some of the numbers on employment, etc. might not be positive."
Regardless of the cause, millionaire investors reported an increased interest in stocks and a pullback from some of their conservative positions. Investments in stocks rose 6.4 points to 43, a six-month high. Stock mutual funds were the second most active investment. By contrast, investments in cash dropped 11.2 points to 24.8, marking the most substantial decrease in over a year and a half.
On the other hand, the affluent investors who were polled remained somewhat cautious. The number of those with $500,000 (but less than $1 million) in investable assets who reported "not investing" gained four points to 39.1. Still, many affluent households did begin to wade back into riskier investments, albeit at a slower pace, as stocks rose two points to a four-month high of 39.1.
"Millionaires tend to be more positive or more confident than the broader affluent market so therefore the affluent tends to respond a little slower primarily to upticks," Walper said. "That's pretty consistent with what we've seen in the past 8 years or so."
When asked to report on the biggest obstacles to their achieving their investment goals, affluent respondents were mostly hung up on the economy and political stasis. Nearly half of all surveyed said that the economy (23%) and the political climate (20%) were the biggest roadblocks to their investments.
The survey and indices are the result of 250 monthly interviews with financial decision makers with more than $500,000 in investable assets. Bands of 31 to 51 are considered bullish, 11 to 30 is mildly bullish, 10 to -10 is neutral, an outlook of -11 to -30 is mildly bearish and -31 to -51 is bearish.