For the first time in a year, staying on the sidelines was not the first preference of Affluent investors surveyed in March by Spectrem's Millionaire Corner about how they planned to invest (or not invest).
The top investment preference in March was Stock Mutual Funds, which gained 5.43 points to 36.7, the highest reading since last April. Intention to invest in Stocks gained 3 points to 31.2, a five-month high.
CNN reported last week that investors added $849 million to U.S. stock mutual funds during the week ended March 13, according to the latest data from the Investment Company Institute, while investors have put roughly $20 billion into U.S. stocks so far this year.
Among Affluent investors we surveyed, “Not Invest” dropped 10.82 points to 33, another five-month low and the largest month-to-month decrease since January 2009.
Cash, in March, gained 2.42 points to 20.7. This is at the low-end of the 20-30-point range this category has settled in since mid-2011.
Amidst encouraging indicators of the improvement in the housing market, Real Estate increased 3.04 points to 14.4, the highest reading since May 2011. Bonds dropped 1.40 points to 5.7, the lowest reading since August 2006.
Our monthly survey further breaks down Affluent investor preferences by Millionaire and Non-Millionaire households. Millionaires drove Affluent investment in March. “Not invest” dropped 6.6 points to 30.9, a four-month low. Intended investment in Stock Mutual Funds increased eight points to 40.5, a near-year high, while planned Stock investment was flat at 30.6, a 0.4 of a point increase from February.
Cash was the fourth most cited investment preference among Millionaires. This category, too, was basically unchanged from February, ticking downward 0.3 points to 20.7, the lowest level since December 2007.
Millionaires were particularly keen on Real Estate, which gained 5.7 points in March to 19.9, a near year high.
Non-Millionaires, however, were more likely to indicate they would “Not Invest,” which posted a 36.5 reading in March. But this represented a 12.5-point decline from February, and a one-year low.
Among Non-Millionaires who do plan to invest, Stocks and Stock Mutual Funds have the most appeal. These investment categories rose 5.9 points (to 32) and 2.4 points (to 32.4), respectively.
There was also an appreciable increase in Non-Millionaire investors who plan to invest in Cash. This category rose 5.2 points to 20.8, a three-month high.
Donald Liebenson writes news and features for Millionaire Corner. He has been published in the Chicago Tribune, The Chicago Sun-Times, The Los Angeles Times, Fiscal Times, Entertainment Weekly, Huffington Post, and other outlets. He has also served as a marketing writer for Chicago-based Questar Entertainment and distributor Baker & Taylor.
A graduate of the University of Southern California, he is married with a college-age son. He also writes extensively about entertainment.