Thursday, August 26, 2010

Investment advisers don't expect double dip recession

SAN FRANCISCO — A majority of investment advisers say that a double-dip recession is unlikely and that the stock market will improve over the next six months — but their clients are more worried, according to a survey of money managers released Wednesday by financial-services firm Charles Schwab Corp.
Almost 60 percent of advisers said it's unlikely the U.S. economy will head back into recession in the next six months — 28 percent said it's likely to happen — and 63 percent said the S&P 500 will rise in that time, according to the survey in July of 1,199 advisers who work at independent firms with assets held at Schwab.

About half of the advisers said their clients are less optimistic about the economy than clients were in 2009. And 50 percent of advisers said their clients are less optimistic now than they were last year about being able to retire on time, while 40 percent said their clients are less positive about their investments' performance. When it comes to their pocketbooks, 47 percent of clients are trimming back on expenses. More than half are cutting back on spending.

Also, advisers are more worried about meeting their clients' goals: Seventy-one percent said it's difficult to meet client expectations in the current market environment, up from 58 percent who said that in the same survey in January. Still, that's down from the 84 percent of advisers who said that in January 2009.

RelatedEconomy skids closer to return of recession

Clients appear to need less hand-holding these days: Thirty percent of advisers said their clients needed reassurance in the past six months about being on track to meet their goals, down from the 49 percent with that response in January 2009.

Some worries on rise

The advisers have soured a bit on some aspects of the economy in the past six months: Forty-two percent said consumer spending will increase, down from 47 percent in January, and 53 percent said the housing market will continue to soften, up from 46 percent in January. Thirty-two percent said unemployment will increase, down from 40 percent who said that in January.

"A lot of the indicators still point to being cautious, (but) I think there's an optimism that's beginning to creep back into the marketplace," said Bernie Clark, executive vice president for Charles Schwab Advisor Services.

And the clients keep coming: Ninety-two percent of advisers said they'd brought in new client money in the past six months. Of those, 41 percent said clients came from full-service brokerage firms, 34 percent said they came from some other type of firm or financial professional, and 25 percent said the new clients were do-it-yourself investors.

Some money managers said recent global events have affected their investment decisions: Sixty-seven percent said the European debt crisis had at least a moderate impact on their investing choices, and 48 percent said declines in the Chinese market had a moderate impact on their decisions (while 47 percent said that had no effect).

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