Confidence in mutual funds and in the stock market overall has tumbled by almost half in the last year, according to a nationwide Internet study by marketing research and consulting firm Decision Analyst, conducted last month. A mere 23% of the respondents said they expect mutual funds and stocks to increase in value over the next six months, down significantly from 43% during the same month last year. That also represents a decline from the 28% this past December.

The study was conducted as part of the firm’s monthly Economic Index survey, which includes a sampling of several thousand households balanced by gender, age and geography. The Index has a margin of error of plus or minus 3%.

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