A full 66% of investors do not expect the economy to improve until next year-or even later-and only 34% peg improvement for this year, online brokerage TradeKing found in a survey of 3,000 of its customers.

Among those bullish on this year, 14% say improvement has already begun, and 20% think it will kick in by year-end. Among those who foresee a longer timeline, 36% think 2010 will be the magic year, and 30% think the recession will drag out longer.

As to how well President Obama's fiscal policies are working, 62% said the administration's policies either make them "less confident in the market" (40%) or that they did not think the policies were having "any effect at all" (22%). Only 20% said the policies made them feel "more confident in the market."

TradeKing Chairman and CEO Don Montanaro noted, "These are unusual times in the financial markets and from day to day, investors are working to make sense of mixed signals. Many investors clearly appear to be waiting for better trending data in joblessness and consumer spending." before they are ready to claim confidence in the market as a whole."

Asked what impacts their trading decisions the most, 41% said unemployment figures, followed by 36% who cited earnings and 35% who pointed to consumer spending. Last summer, oil prices and energy were investors' two biggest concerns.

Asked which sector has the potential for the biggest gains in the coming quarter, 49% pointed to energy and 34% said technology. Fifty-eight percent said they are changing their investment strategies, up dramatically from 46% in April and 29% in January.


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