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Highlights of Investor Survey

February 25, 2003|From a Times Staff Writer

A monthly survey of individual investors by brokerage UBS and the Gallup Organization finds them more pessimistic than at any time since the survey began in 1996.

Highlights from the latest survey, which questioned 1,000 investors selected randomly nationwide from Feb. 1 to Feb. 16:

* Thirty-five percent of respondents said they are optimistic about the prospects for economic growth over the next 12 months, the lowest percentage of optimists since the survey was launched and down from 42% in January.

* A majority, 51%, are pessimistic about the performance of financial markets in the short term. A record low 42% believe that now is a good time to invest.

* The potential for a U.S.-Iraq war was cited by 37% of respondents as a "major threat" to the investing climate. Other key risks, in order: a prolonged economic downturn, cited by 22%; terrorist attacks, 22%; and a significant depreciation of the dollar, 9%.

* The majority of investors, 56%, believe that a U.S. invasion of Iraq would have a negative effect on the American economy, while 35% believe it would have a positive effect. (The rest expect no effect or did not answer the question.)

The survey overall has a sampling error of plus or minus three percentage points, Gallup said. Each investor questioned in the survey has total savings and investments of at least $10,000.

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