The John Hancock Investor Sentiment Index fell four points in the second quarter to 18, down from 22 in the first quarter, when John Hancock debuted the index.

Americans said they are worried about rising gasoline prices, healthcare costs and the national debt, with 62% saying they are very concerned about oil and gas prices, 61% worried about the national debt and 40% concerned about unemployment.

Consistent with the first quarter, 49% say they are better off today than they were two years ago, and 58% think they will be in a better position in two years’ time.

For non-retirees, 35% said their top goal for saving and investing was retirement.

At the same time, investors said they are confident in the equity market and their own personal financial situation.

Despite economic worries, most Americans, 82%, plan to take a vacation this summer, up from the 73% who planned to take a vacation in the first quarter. Sixty percent said they plan to spend the same amount on their vacation as they did last year, and 20% even plan to spend more.

“While investors continue to keep a wary eye on domestic and global economic issues, our survey suggests that investor confidence persists, although its momentum appears to have slowed somewhat in the second quarter,” said Bill Cheney, chief economist for John Hancock.

Other key findings showed that 58% believe now is a good time to invest in equities, 53% are looking to invest in equity mutual funds, and 54% are interested in balanced mutual fund. Looking out into the next 12 months, 75% plan to invest in equities and 73% expect to invest in equity mutual funds.

Investors are the most bullish on blue-chip stocks, with 18% interested in this category, followed by emerging markets (16%) and gold (14%).

Only 23% believe now is a good time to invest in bonds, and 25% think fixed income funds are a good choice.

Eighty percent of investors said it is a good time to allocate money to retirement accounts such as 401(k) plans or IRAs.



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