Amid frequent maneuvering around American trade policies, investors in March decided they would take a small step back from their investment habits.
According to both the February Spectrem Millionaire Confidence Index (SMICI®) and the Spectrem Affluent Investors Confidence Index (SAICI®), there was a decrease in those investors' interest in increasing their investments in the immediate future. At the same time, the percentage of Millionaires choosing NOT to increase investing grew to a level not seen in almost one year.
Both the SAICI (an index of investors with $500,000 in investable assets) and the SMICI (for investors with $1 million in investable assets) dropped in March, and the decrease among Millionaires was 4 points. The March index fielding took place March 16-21, when there was more speculation than fact around whether the U.S. would initiate all aluminum and steel tariffs and what it would do in regard to its trade deficit with China.
Millionaires vs. Non-Millionaires
- Both Millionaires and non-Millionaires stated a decreased interest in Stock and Stock Mutual Fund investing. For non-Millionaires, interest in Stock Mutual Fund investing dropped from 38.7 percent to 30 percent, which might be expected after a significant increase in February. For Millionaires, interest in Stock investing fell almost 17 points to 34.0 percent, the largest decrease since August of 2013, when there was a 17-point drop.
- One difference between Millionaires and non-Millionaires in March was in the area of those “not investing’’, meaning they are not going to extend their portfolios in the coming month. Among Millionaires, 30.7 percent said they were “not investing”, the highest level since September. Among non-Millionaires, there was a decrease in those “not investing” to 36 percent, the lowest percentage of non-Millionaires avoiding increased investing since February of 2017.
Men vs. Women
- It’s the female investors who reported the greatest pessimism about investing in March, as interest in Stock investing fell to 22.5 percent and those “not investing” increased to 41.3 percent.
- Among the male investors, interest in Stock and Stock Mutual Fund investing also fell (Stock investing dropped almost 9 points) but the overall SAICI and SMICI for men actually rose in March to similar marks – 17 for the SAICI (all investors) and 18 for the SMICI (those with $1 million in investable assets).
- The indices for females fell in both segments, to 7 for the SMICI and (2) for the SAICI.
Republican vs. Democrat vs. Independent
- It’s a matter of degrees for investors based on their political affiliation: Republicans expressed slight pessimism and Democrats were more pessimistic.
- Republican investors expressed lower interest in Stock and Stock Mutual Fund investing in March, but were more likely to invest in Cash and bond Mutual Funds. Democrats, on the other hand, expressed lower interest in all forms of investing, and 47.76 percent expressed an intention to “not invest’’ further in the coming month.
- But interest in investing was down overall among all investors. The SMICI and SAICI fell for Republicans to 20 and 18, respectively. For Democrats, the SAICI dropped into negative territory for the second time in three months, and the SMICI fell to the lowest mark in the last 12 months.
Working vs. Retired
- It’s not often that retired investors are more optimistic about investing than working investors, but such was the case in March, when retired investors showed greater interest in Stock Mutual Fund and Individual Bond investing than in the previous month. Working investors were less interested in almost all forms of investing with the exception of Bond Mutual Fund investing.
- Among working investors, the percentage of those “not investing’’ more in the coming month grew to 25.5 percent. Meanwhile, the retired investors pulling back in the coming month actually dropped to 39.8 percent.
- The SMICI fell for both working and retired investors. Among retired investors, the SAICI remained unchanged at 4, just 2 points lower than the SMICI among retired investors.
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