The lagging stock market hasn't turned investors away from equity investments, according to new research from the Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI) and the Investment Company Institute (ICI). In a five-year examination of 401(k) investment activity, asset allocation remained 70% unchanged. Among all 401(k) participants, 14.6 million, in the 2001 EBRI/ICI database, almost 70% of plan balances are invested directly or indirectly in stocks, despite the fact that, overall, U.S. equity markets declined by about 12% in 2001. Asset allocation in plans was virtually unchanged over the 1996-2001 period, with about 70% of 401(k) accounts invested in the equity market at year-end 2001.

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