For more than two years, gas and oil prices have barely registered as a news story on affluent investors’ radars. But with pump prices pushing $4, and in some unfortunate places $5, and with the summer driving season upon us, it could no longer be ignored. Fourteen percent of affluent investors ranked gas and oil prices as the news story that most impacts their economic outlook.
But the number one news story, according to 17 percent, is the political environment, which has in recent weeks become sharply partisan as candidates for the GOP presidential nomination announced their bids or withdrew from consideration. Meanwhile, debate over the budget continues and Congress faces an Aug. 2 deadline to reach agreement about raising the debt ceiling. The political climate was of even more concern to Millionaire investors (23 percent), the highest level since last November and the mid-term elections.
Domestic concerns are preoccupying affluent investors. Even with the death of Osama bin Laden earlier this month as well as the ongoing turmoil in Libya and Syria, International Problems only engaged 7 percent of affluent investors.
Interlinked, the Economy, Unemployment, or the Deficit was each cited by 10 percent as the most impactful news story. The Deficit was being watched a little more closely by Millionaires (13 percent). As a news story, Stock Market conditions engaged only 3 percent of investors. Perhaps they are more focused on the Economy as a whole, while the Stock Market, though it has see-sawed of late, has remained over the psychological benchmark of 12,000 points.