Americans Miss $200 Billion Abandoning Stocks – Bloomberg 12-24-12

Salient to Investors:

Americans have missed $200 billion of stock gains by draining money from the market in the past 4 years. Since the bull market began in March 2009, the proportion of retirement funds in stocks fell 0.5 percent versus the average rise of 8.2 percent in rallies since 1990. ICI says individuals cut the proportion of assets in stocks to 72 percent from 72.5 percent in 2009, and in retirement funds during a bull market for the first time in 20 years. 46.4 percent of households in 2011 owned stock mutual funds, the second-lowest since 1997.

James Paulsen at Wells Capital Mgmt said the biggest liability in the stock market is the total destruction to confidence despite so much evidence of the recovery broadening.

The S&P 500 is at 14.5 times reported earnings, 12 percent below the 6-decade average. Index companies cut interest to 2.39 percent of sales, the lowest level in at least a decade. 481 of the 500 companies are higher than they were in March 2009 or when added to the Index.

Corporate bond and Treasury funds have received nearly $1 trillion in new money since March 2009.

Paul Zemsky at ING Investment Mgmt said outflows from stocks limited IPOs and M&As.

James Butterfill at Coutts said investors have few investment options – corporates are very attractive and the most under-leveraged since the early 1990s.

Daily swings in the S&P 500 averaged 1.74 percent in 2008, the most for any year since the Great Depression, 1.58 percent in 2009, the third-biggest year on record, and 1.24 percent in 2011, the seventh-biggest, and 0.59 percent so far in 2012.

Walter “Bucky” Hellwig at BB&T Wealth Mgmt said the flash crash, low-growth economy, unemployment, job uncertainty just don’t kindle any desire to risk money.

Read the full article at http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-12-24/americans-miss-200-billion-abandoning-stocks.html.

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