An AP-CNBC poll released Tuesday shows 61% of investors wary of individual stocks due to recent market volatility, but 62% point to mutual funds as a good or somewhat good investment vehicle. That had mutual funds beating out bank savings accounts, cited by 51%, and both bonds and real estate, which each scored 50% of investors’ backing. Exchange-traded funds received a thumbs-up by only 26% of the 1,035 respondents.
Approval for mutual funds increases among those earning $100,000 or more a year. About 75% in this income range rate mutual funds as good investments.
Eighty-six percent said the market is unfair to small investors but favorable to investment banks, hedge funds and professional traders. Despite the historic regulatory reform bill, 50% have little or no confidence in the ability of regulators to even the playing field for investors. Only 8% have a great deal of respect for regulators.
Nonetheless, despite this skepticism, 48% overall still believe individual stocks are still a somewhat good or very good way to make money, and 78% say the best way to make money on equities is buy and hold.
Although the Securities and Exchange Commission is scheduled to release its report on the reasons for the May 6 Flash Crash, and industry insiders have pointed to high-frequency traders as a potential cause—28% of those polled said they view computerized trading as somewhat bad or negative. Thirty-eight percent are undecided, and 35% view computerized trading as positive.
The views changed considerably among wealthy investors with more to lose, however. Among those with $250,000 or more invested, more than half blame computerized trading for the big swings. For those with $50,000 or more invested, the skepticism toward computerized trading resides among only about one-third.
Sixty percent of those polled between Aug. 26 and Sept. 8 said they have been paying closer attention to stock market swings since the May 6 Flash Crash.