Index rises to +138, highest since +147 in September 2000
Hike is latest in 98-point rise since February 2016
68% optimistic about stock market -- tied for highest percentage on record
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- A new surge of optimism among U.S. investors has pushed
the Wells Fargo/Gallup Investor and Retirement Optimism Index to its highest
level since September 2000. The index, after rising in every quarter since
the start of 2016, leveled off in the second quarter at +124 before rising
to its current +138 in the third quarter.
The latest boost in optimism pushes the index almost 100 points higher
than the +40 score measured in February 2016. The 98-point hike over the
past 18 months is the largest increase in the 20-year history of the index
that is not a rebound immediately after a major drop in optimism.
The results come from a July 28-Aug. 6 Wells Fargo/Gallup Investor and
Retirement Optimism Index survey of U.S. investors with $10,000 or more
invested in stocks, bonds or mutual funds. The seven items that constitute
the index include three on personal finances (meeting long-term investment
goals, meeting short-term investment goals and maintaining income) and
four on the economy (economic growth, the stock market, unemployment and
inflation). The survey was in the field as the Dow Jones industrial average
approached, then surpassed, the 22,000-point milestone for the first time.
Investors' Optimism About Stock Market Matches 1999-2000 Record High
One of the key factors in the robust third-quarter index is investors'
growing confidence in the stock market.
Sixty-eight percent now say they are optimistic about the stock market's
performance during the next year, matching the record high for the question
from December 1999 and January 2000.
At least 61% have expressed optimism about the stock market in each of
the three surveys this year, a percentage matched or exceeded only four
other times in the 132 times the question has been asked since April 2000.
Twenty-five percent say they are "very optimistic," topping the
previous record high of 24% from the first quarter of this year. Only
11% were very optimistic a year ago.
Sixty-one percent of investors now say it is a good time to invest in the
stock market, up from 53% two years ago. Among those saying it's a
good time to invest, the main reason is their belief that the market will
continue to increase, mentioned by 47%. Eighteen percent say stocks are
a better investment than the alternatives, and 17% see stock market volatility
as a buying opportunity.
Among the 37% who do not think it is a good time to put money into stocks,
52% say the main reason is worry about a market correction.
Retiree Investors More Optimistic Than Nonretirees
Optimism has risen considerably more among retired investors this year
than among nonretired investors. In the first-quarter survey, the index
was similar among retirees (+124) and nonretirees (+127). Now retirees
are considerably more optimistic than nonretirees, +158 versus +130. While
nonretirees' ratings of the personal and economic components have
moved little this year, both have risen significantly for retirees.
Investor Optimism Grows More Rapidly Among Retirees
Overall index, personal and economic components for first three quarters of 2017
The overall index combines optimism and pessimism for both personal and
economic components. The personal component includes meeting long-term
and short-term goals and maintaining income. The economic component includes
economic growth, stock market, unemployment and inflation.
The stock market has moved generally upward for the past eight years after
bottoming out in the wake of the 2008 economic crash, but investors have
been slow to shed their skepticism about stocks as a good investment.
This year's continued climb of the market to record-setting heights,
however, has given investors enough evidence that more than two-thirds
are optimistic and one-fourth are now very optimistic about its near-term
As the Dow and other key economic measures have continued to move in a
positive direction over the past few months, retiree investors have grown
more optimistic about meeting their financial goals. With the financial
status of retirees becoming more and more important as baby boomers flood
the retirement rolls, the growing confidence of retiree investors provides
a welcome piece of evidence about their financial well-being.
The question, as always, is whether the economy in general, and the stock
market specifically, will continue to provide good reasons for optimism
in the months ahead.
Results for the Wells Fargo/Gallup Investor and Retirement Optimism Index
survey are based on questions asked July 28-Aug. 6 2017, on the Gallup
Daily tracking survey, of a random sample of 1,006 U.S. adults having
investable assets of $10,000 or more.
For results based on the total sample of investors, the margin of sampling
error is ±4 percentage points at the 95% confidence level. All
reported margins of sampling error include computed design effects for
Each sample of national adults includes a minimum quota of 70% cellphone
respondents and 30% landline respondents, with additional minimum quotas
by time zone within region. Landline and cellular telephone numbers are
selected using random-digit-dial methods.