Investment Climate Bad, Corporate Credibility Better, Business Group Says

Compiled By Traci Purdum The Conference Board, a New York-based business-research group, found that 60% of American consumers consider the current investment climate to be "bad" and 65% expect no change in the climate over the next six months. However, the survey also found that consumers are putting slightly more faith into corporate earnings and profits projections, financial analysts' reports and corporate management when compared with a study done last fall. The survey, conducted by NFO WorldGroup, queried 5,000 U.S. households in September 2002 and January 2003. "The steep and prolonged decline in equity values, coupled with a long and seemingly endless list of worries, are keeping consumers on the investment sidelines," says Lynn Franco, director of The Conference Board's Consumer Research Center. "The only silver lining in this latest report is that trust in American corporations and accounting and investment firms has improved slightly over the last six months." Other survey highlights include:

  • Nearly 14% of consumers expect investment conditions will worsen in the short-term, up from 11% in September 2002.
  • Only 21% of respondents said they would invest in stocks over the next six months.
  • Less than 30% of survey respondents view corporate earnings as not credible, down from 35% in September 2002.
  • When asked how much trust they now have in U.S. corporate management versus six months ago, 60% of consumers said "less," down from 65%.
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